The Importance of Using Reputable Agencies
Since the pandemic started, Australians have lost over $300,000 to rental and accommodation scams this year. This is a 76 per cent increase compared to last year, which is alarming. How does this happen?
Most of these scams target people seeking new rental accommodation by offering fake properties for rent which results in people handing over their personal information and money. They make it look like an offer hard to refuse for people desperately looking for more affordable properties during these times. The catch is, these scammers use government restrictions as an excuse to elude inspections. As a result, people are transferring money to them without seeing the property in person.
Another way they do this is post advertisements on real estate websites or target people who’re looking for a room. After targeted people respond, the scammer will request an upfront deposit to secure the property or seek for personal information through the tenant application form with a big promise to provide keys to the property after the information along with the payment is provided.
Other scammers will even go to the lengths of impersonating real estate agents and organise fake inspections for the targeted people to arrive only to find out the property either doesn’t exist or is occupied.
Here’re the tips to help you avoid these types of scams
- It is crucial to remember to keep your personal information safe and not share it with people from untrustworthy agencies or especially on social media.
- Try to view property in person before committing to pay for it.
- If it is impossible for you to view the property, do an online search on the agency and if dealing with the agent, check their licence.
- If you’re corresponding with them via email, it is a great opportunity to search for their details online to double-check that it is a legitimate agency / agent.
For more information about scams, visit the Scamwatch website.