RCMP are issuing a warning after multiple people were scammed by individuals posing as landlords with suites for rent. (Pixabay)

RCMP are issuing a warning after multiple people were scammed by individuals posing as landlords with suites for rent. (Pixabay)

Rental scam hits North Okanagan

RCMP have received multiple complaints in recent days from victims

When it comes to getting a rental, if it sounds too good to be true, it might be.

Salmon Arm RCMP recently received multiple complaints involving people who were reportedly scammed out of hundreds of dollars in e-transfer payments after falling victim to an online rental scam involving a property nestled in the Shuswap.

In the most recent case, the victim made two e-transfer payments totaling nearly $2,000 in order to secure the basement suite said to be situated in a home on 18 Street SE in Salmon Arm, BC. The victim traveled to Salmon Arm, set to take possession of his new rental when he was advised no such rental suite existed.

READ MORE: Scam calls continue to circulate

Investigators have determined that additional individuals looking to relocate from the Lower Mainland District (LMD) and northern BC have also been victimized by the same fraudster.

A woman from the LMD posted an online ad seeking a rental in Salmon Arm, when the suspect replied, claiming to have a suite for rent. In this particular case, the victim not only paid $1,000 to secure the rental, but shared personal information along with photocopies of personal identification. The victim became suspicious when the scammer began to ask the woman to purchase Bitcoin and gift cards for him.

READ MORE: Gift card scam losses nearly tripled in three years: Better Business Bureau

This type of scam is not new and can happen on any online platform or website. In some cases, scammers will pull photos from legitimate listings or properties for sale and present them as their own. Typically, they will have a reason as to why they are unable to show the property in person. In each of these cases, the fraudster claimed to be residing in Ontario.

With fewer and fewer rentals available, it can be easy to be taken advantage of, especially if you’re moving to a community by yourself and are unable to personally visit the property in person, said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the RCMP Southeast District in a press release.

It might not always be easy, but always make sure that you or someone you trust visits a property first before any funds change hands. Also, take added steps to confirm the person renting the property is its actual owner or representative. Taking the time to talk to neighbours in the area or a building’s caretaker can save you a whole lot of precious time and money in the end.

READ MORE: B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

The RCMP added several tips for people who are looking for rentals to avoid being scammed.

The first tips are to arrange for the renter or someone they trust to visit the property in person before exchanging money and to talk to others in the area to confirm who owns the property. Also, ask to see previous utility bills as another way of verifying the landlord’s identity.

Also advised is conducting an online search of any photos of the rental or the address to see if it has been associated with scams in the past, and ensuring a proper rental agreement is provided and signed by both parties.

Finally, the RCMP recommends paying for a rental in a method other than cash or e-transfers, such as by cheque or bank draft.

If you have been scammed of money or have provided personal information to a potential fraudster, please report the incident to your local RCMP or police of jurisdiction and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

For more information about scams and tips to avoid them, you can go to the BC RCMP or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre websites.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Scams

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

Similkameen Elementary Secondary School (google maps)
More potential exposures dates added to Keremeos school by Interior Health

The entire school week from April 26 to 30 now had a potential exposure

City Hall
Penticton council votes to shift tax burden to businesses

“The businesses staying afloat are what’s going to keep our community afloat,” said coun. Watt

Penticton Western News editor Monique Tamminga got her Astra Zeneca vaccine on Monday, May 3, 2021 at a Penticton pharmacy. Vaccines and appointments are available at most Penticton pharmacies this week.
More than 22K Penticton residents vaccinated

More than 35,000 people jabbed in South Okanagan so far

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
New temporary outdoor shelter in Kelowna opens

The new area on Richter Street and Weddell Place replaces the Baillie Avenue site

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read