Kijiji Rental Frauds
Sarnia Police Service along with the other police agencies are frequently investigating frauds involving rental properties offered on the popular Kijiji website. These cases involve fraudsters who steal your identity along with your money. The ads will ask for proof of potential renter identification then a security deposit to hold the property. The identification is used to commit further crimes and the deposit money is lost forever.
Never submit any form of identification before you actually see the property. Does the property actually exist, is it actually available for rent or is it already occupied? Is it “for sale” on another website and the fraudster has just copied the photos on the rental ad?
Recently, the Sarnia Police together with the Ontario Provincial Police were involved in one of these investigations where the “would be” renter was scammed of approximately $500 and the piece of identity presented for the rental application was used to commit other frauds within the province. Often, people will lose a far greater amount of money in these scams. Investigators have learned that many of these crimes stem from far reaching, overseas countries and criminal charges are almost impossible to be processed.
Before applying to rent one of these properties, ask if you can see the property before you submit any identification or money. If it is not possible for you to view the place, you need to ask why? Is the landlord from out of town? Do the pictures look professional and realistic? Ask for address of the property. Do you have a friend in the area that can drive by. Google the address. This may lead to further information and history about the property.
Be very wary of ads asking for sensitive information about you. Be wary of landlords asking for deposits via wire transfers or pre-paid debit cards. Do not become a victim of these very popular SCAMS.
If you have information about people committing these types of crimes, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.