Monday, March 28, 2011

Are you being scammed?

The internet, so convenient. Particularly for those who wish to do harm.

Early this year we were showing a lovely home in Kilbirnie and some prospective tenants turned up whom we were not expecting. ‘This is the place for $260 per week right?’ they asked, pleased at how nice it was. ‘No, it is $480 per week’ we replied, ‘are you at the right house?’. They confirmed the address, and sure enough, they were at the right place. They showed us the advert they had printed out from Craigslist. It was the same property indeed, but not our advert, though the details and photos had been copied from our TradeMe listing.

The prospective tenants had been emailing the ‘agent’ who was going to send them a tenancy agreement via email once they paid the rent and bond by internet banking. It was just luck they happened to bump into us at the property when they did a drive-by and discovered the person they were dealing with was scamming them.

The long and the short of it: If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. If you can’t meet the person at the property, they probably have no right to be renting it. And if they want money up front before you can look inside, be very wary. If they don’t have a key, they have no right to be there. Check their credentials. Only deal with reputable companies with professional affiliations, like the Independent Property Managers’ Association. Rental Results is a proud member of the IPMA and Wellington Property Investors’ Association. The scammer is not.

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