Calgary, AB,

Police investigate rental scam involving fictitious online ads

Police are investigating after reports were received about a rental scam involving fraudulent online advertisements for a basement suite located in the northwest community of Brentwood.

On Sunday, July 2, 2023, the victim attended a residence in the 5000 block of Benson Road N.W., after arranging to view a basement suite that was advertised online for rent.

Prior to attending the scheduled viewing, it is believed the victim sent a deposit through e-transfer to the alleged landlord in exchange for the suite to be placed on hold.

Once the victim arrived at the residence, they found another victim there for a scheduled viewing, who said they also sent a deposit via e-transfer, with the impression the suite would be reserved.

When no one arrived to host the potential tenants for the viewing, it was discovered the online ad was fraudulent and was not posted by the rightful owner of the home. The alleged landlord cut off communication with the victims and quickly deleted the online ad.

Investigators believe the alleged landlord has several other ads posted online for similar rental properties in various communities across the city. Anyone who has information about fraudulent online rental listings is asked to contact police.

We are reminding Calgarians to be vigilant when searching for housing by following these tips for tenants:

·         Only deal with landlords who are local. If they refuse to meet in person, it could be a red flag.

·         Ask to do a walk-through of the property with the landlord so you can document the condition of the property before moving in.

·         Be suspicious if a landlord is urging you to pay any amount of money prior to seeing the property.

·         Research the average rental rates in the area and be suspicious if the rate is significantly lower.

·         Do not give out personal information such as social insurance number, bank account, or credit card number.

Anyone with information about this rental scam or similar incidents is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477


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