Our colleagues at Action Fraud have alerted our officers to a new scam whereby fraudsters pretend to be landlords of online rental properties to try and scam money out of potential tenants.
The criminals will request a deposit or rent upfront often before a home is even viewed. They then claim the cash will be put into the government protected Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
After money is paid a fake email is sent saying the deposit has been received.
Sadly in a few cases the money has gone straight to a fraudster and the victim has been left out of pocket, sometimes to the value of hundreds of pounds.
Detective Sergeant Ben Robinson from Humberside Police’s Economic Crime Unit said: “I want people to be aware of this scam and not fall fowl of unscrupulous criminals who will try anything to con people out of their hard earned cash.
“When looking for a house to rent, please take your time and only pay when you're sure that the individual or company is reliable and trustworthy.
“Fraudsters are quick to take your money off you. Don’t be so quick to give your money to them.”
We want to offer some advice about what to look out for:
Always make sure you or someone you trust view the property with an agent or landlord before agreeing to rent it.
Don’t rush into anything or be pressured into making a decision.
Only hand over money when you’re 100% satisfied the property is genuine, and safety certificates and a contract are in place.
When you’ve paid your deposit you can check whether it’s protected by entering a ‘tenancy deposit certificate code’ on the TDS website:
If you feel you’ve been a victim of fraud or cyber crime you can report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040