City police are once again issuing a warning of rental scams in the area.
The service issued a release this morning saying it has received reports of scammers taking money from victims by advertising fraudulent rental listings online.
Police say to be careful when you are looking for a residence to rent online, adding reports show postings have been on online marketplace websites.
According to NBPS, the scammers accept the victims’ application to rent the property and request the victim send initial rent money via eTransfer. After the victim has paid the amount, the scammers cut off contact.
They add the rental listings often use images and details about real residences in North Bay that are not for rent. This is done without the permission or knowledge of the current residents. In some instances, after paying rent, victims attended the address on their scheduled move-in dates only to learn that they had been victims of a scam.
Police say these types of fraudulent rental listings often become more prevalent as university and college students begin looking for places to live during the upcoming school year.
The Competition Bureau of Canada provides ways to protect yourself against rental scams:
Go to the address, make sure the listing is truthful and accurate. If you are unable to go in person, use the Internet to see actual images of the rental.
Research the address to ensure it is not a duplicate post. You may even conduct a reverse image search to see if the photos were used elsewhere.
Schedule a showing and confirm that the landlord will be present.
If you plan on renting in a new development, contact the builder to confirm ownership.
Request a lease or contract. Review it thoroughly.
Be sure to know your rights as a tenant. Consult your provincial or territorial department or ministry of housing.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of this or any other scam, contact the North Bay Police Service at 705-497-5555. Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.nearnorthcrimestoppers.com.