Tenants beware of property fraud on online letting sites

I wanted to make you aware of several online property scams that we’ve come across, which demand tenants pay deposits up front, online. Fake posts, on sites such as Gumtree, are asking consumers to prove that they can pay the required deposit by sending money to a friend or relative using a money transfer agent. The tenant is then compelled to send a scanned copy of the transaction receipt to the bogus landlord as ‘proof’ of fund availability. But unfortunately, this receipt contains enough information for the scammers to collect the money before the intended recipient can.

These fake adverts are quickly spotted and removed from the online sites but unfortunately some still fall foul of the scammers and it’s vital that prospective tenants find out whether the landlord is registered with an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme, like The DPS. Tenants should then also check whether their deposit has been protected or not – you can do that by calling the tenancy deposit protection scheme directly.

Tenants should only transfer money to reputable landlords who can prove they are registered with an approved tenancy deposit scheme so it is important that you double check – ideally they should meet the landlord first and view the property before handing over any cash.