Don’t buy rental scam

Might be a doorbell, might be a knock. Someone is responding to the “for-rent” ad he or she saw online. Problem is, the place isn’t for rent.

A Brockville resident shared a story like that with city police last week, which prompted the local constabulary to once again remind the public about taking precautions in order to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

The ad was to be taken down from Kijiji, but there have been others in the past that have led to respondents being duped and making some sort of payment on a property that is not available. One recent fraudulent online classified ad asked the potential renter to fill out an application that included personal details such as banking and contact information as well as occupation. The scammer also requested a security deposit to go with the application.

The folks who went to that home last week did the right thing by going to the address that was being advertised. A landlord or property owner that is unable or unwilling to schedule a showing is a reason to become suspicious. Police recommend conducting a search of the property on the internet to ensure it is not a duplicate post. As always, Brockville’s finest discourage the public from sending any payments to strangers; When in doubt, don’t press send.

And by the way, city police also noted last week that the CRA-related scam has reappeared. An alleged officer threatens to arrest the potential victim for overdue taxes unless he or she pays up immediately (possibly by way of prepaid credit cards or a similar method), or leaves a message with words to that effect and gives a number to call. Once again, the advice from law enforcement: don’t provide any personal information and hang up on the caller.

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