PORT MOODY — Port Moody police are warning the public of a possible rental scam after a resident nearly got duped earlier this month.
Police said a Port Moody resident was looking to rent an apartment in the area and found a posting in the Klahanie area that appeared “too good to be true.”
After contacting the “landlord” through a link on Craigslist, she received an email from a Gmail account.
According to police, the email said “due to the high fraud and fake apartments posted I am very cautious and will not give you this information over email. The flat is full [sic] furnished, everything is new inside, so please understand me! You know that the apartment is not inhabited.”
Sensing that something was not quite right, police said the intended victim conducted a Google search of the email reply, which brought her to various websites warning her that the email and sender were involved in Internet frauds and scams.
Eventually the ad was removed from Craigslist and no money was ever exchanged.
But Police warn the scam is not new or unique to Port Moody.
The scam works in that the “victim” is searching for an apartment on free sites such as Craigslist and comes across “a great deal” on an apartment, usually a low price on a great apartment.
The victim communicates with the scammer via email about the rental, while the scammer will talk about the urgency of renting the apartment due to a sudden job move or emergency that has forced them out of the country.
Police note the scammer will often write about trust issues, reference God or claim to be a “trustworthy” professional such as a doctor or Reverend in an attempt to gain the victim’s trust.
They will then request personal information and that a security deposit be wired in exchange for the keys to the place.
Once the money is wired, the keys never show up and the money is gone.
The Port Moody police have some tips to avoid being scammed by asking the following questions:
• Does the email start with Sir / Madam?
• Are there spelling and grammar mistakes?
• Is there information in the email completely irrelevant to the transaction at hand?
• Is there excessive capitalization?
• Does the email reference God, the U.K., doctor, Nigeria, or Reverend?
• Is the email from a free email provider such as Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail?