Suffolk Residents Warned of Fake Property Scam

Suffolk Trading Standards have been made aware of a rental property scam that nearly caught out an Ipswich resident.

glassWhilst searching for a new property to rent, the complainant posted a “Wanted” request on Gumtree and was quickly emailed by an individual advising that they had a property available to rent in Ipswich.  Pictures of the property were emailed and details supplied of the monthly rent required.  When the complainant requested a viewing the fake landlord requested that they pay a £500 deposit beforehand.

Suffolk Trading Standards are asking prospective tenants to be wary of too good to be true offers, and take a few simple steps to ensure that they are not parting money with a scammer.

Scammers will often use various websites to post fake listings. They will go to great lengths to ensure that the offer looks genuine by including photos and real addresses of properties. However, photos and details of properties can be easily obtained on the internet.

Once hooked, the scammer will request money, often via money transfer, or personal details upfront to ‘secure’ the rental property.

Suffolk Trading Standards warns consumers not to send money or provide personal details to people you don’t know and trust.

Warning signs- what to watch out for

  • Too good to be true offers.
  • Ongoing excuses as to why the property cannot be viewed, such as the owner is overseas.
  • Securing the property requires an up front fee via money transfer.
  • The prospective landlord lives overseas.

How to protect yourself

  • Insist on inspecting the property- a drive-by is not enough. With these types of scams, the property may genuinely exist, but it is owned by someone else.
  • If it is overseas, ask someone you can trust to make inquiries. If there is a real estate agent or similar in the area they may be able to assist.
  • Do not rely on any information provided to you from anyone recommended by the person advertising the property.
  • An internet search on the name of the person offering the property and their email address may provide useful information.
  • If dealing with a private landlord, ask them to show ID such as driving licence and a utility bill (both have addresses on them).
  • Where possible, avoid paying via money transfer. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Never pay Cash – ever!
  • There are many accommodation websites, consider choosing the ones with clear warnings about scams or which offer added protection.
  • If you are satisfied that the offer is legitimate and decide to accept it, keep copies of all correspondence, banking details and the listing itself.
  • Protect your deposit: Where a deposit is taken other than a ‘holding deposit’, the money must be paid into a deposit scheme approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Further information about the scheme and tenant’s rights can be found on the Department for Communities and Local Government website.

Report a scam

If you have been scammed, note down all the relevant information- such as, where you found the rental advertisement and who you spoke to.

Report the matter to Trading Standards on 03454 040506.

If you have lost money you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

About suffolktradingstandards
Suffolk Trading Standards is working towards creating and fair and safe trading environment. By creating empowered consumers, that are armed with the knowledge to stop 'rogue traders'.

One Response to Suffolk Residents Warned of Fake Property Scam

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Another scam to watch out for…

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