HALIFAX -- Halifax Mounties say beware of an online rental property scam.

Police say in the past two weeks they've received reports of a "fraudulent ad" for a rental property that was posted in in online marketplace.

"In one situation, the victim reached out to the person who posted the ad and sent a deposit," Halifax RCMP wrote in a news release. "The victim then changed their mind about renting the property and tried to contact the person who posted the ad. They could not reach the person and contacted police."
In another situation, a person looking for a rental saw the ad and reached out by e-mail, but when they researched the property in person, they realized it was not for rent and called police.
"Fraudsters can be very convincing and anyone can be a victim of a scam, but there are some things everyone can do to reduce their risk," the RCMP wrote.

They provided some advice to protect yourself from being scammed:

  • When searching for rentals, visit the address in-person.
  • Schedule a showing and confirm its availability.
  • Request a lease/contract and review it thoroughly.
  • Search online marketplaces for the posted rental address to ensure there are not duplicate posts. If there are, this could be a sign of a scam.
  • Ifthe person requests payment in cryptocurrency, gift cards or E-transfer, this is a strong indicator of a scam.
  • If you feel rushed or pushed to do something, it could be a sign of a scam.
  • Go with your gut. If it seems off, it probably is.

If you believe you are the victim of a scam, contact your local police. If you encounter a scam but you have not been victimized, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.