Oct. 19, 2019
Apartment rental scam surfaces in Tsawwassen
A savvy would-be renter avoided being scammed out of $1,300 in a fraud that seems to have newly surfaced in Tsawwassen.
A Delta man responded to a Craigslist ad for an apartment in Tsawwassen, allegedly owned by a couple who were offering it for a very competitive rate.
The man hadn’t seen the apartment yet, but was in email communication with the apparent owners, who indicated that if he wanted to secure the apartment, he should put a deposit down through their account with Air BNB. Should he not like the looks of the apartment, he would be able to get his deposit back.
The man was then sent an email purportedly from Air BNB.
“Fortunately the man noticed that the email didn’t look quite right. The Air BNB header at the top of the email seemed a bit off, and there were spelling mistakes,” says Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for Delta Police. “He tried communicating his concerns back to the alleged owners of the apartment, but they never responded.”
The man was troubled by the apparent scam, so did not send any money and instead took his concerns into the District Community Police Office in downtown Ladner. There Cst. Ken Kirk confirmed his suspicions, and was able to determine that the $1,300 deposit would have gone into a Western Union account, located overseas, and not into an Air BNB account.
The rental scam attempt took place October 17. Since then Delta Police has learned there may have been another victim of the scam, who did lose a $1,300 deposit.
“While we understand the rental market can be very tough, police recommend that renters meet with the owners or property managers on-site to have a look at a suite before handing over any deposit money,” says Leykauf. Additionally, renters should never provide pictures of their ID to someone they haven’t met with in person. The scammers often ask for this, then use it for identity theft or to propagate their scam.