Emergency alert

Desperate local renters fall victim to scammers using the housing shortage to their advantage

52 Hill Street, Albany – one of the homes Ray White Rural has had reported to them being used in the scam.  (Ray White Rural Albany)

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Local real estate agency Ray White Rural has posted warnings in local Facebook groups yesterday after a handful of property scams have come to light across multiple platforms.

Preying on renters desperate during the rental shortage in the region, the scammers are offering properties listed with local agents with slightly different house numbers in order to con people into contacting them where they will ask for a deposit in order to ‘hold’ the property for them. 

Scammers target local Facebook pages for rental seekers

Senior Property Manger Sharon Milentis said they became aware of the scams when they were scrolling through the Homes For Rent Albany Western Australia Facebook page Tuesday evening this week. 

“I noticed someone had posted screenshots of a conversation with a scammer claiming to be the owner of the property at 52 Hill Street Albany, however used the numbers 52 & 53,” Ms Milentis said. 

“The scammer had preyed on the person posting that they had seen their ad looking for a rental property and purported to be the owner of the property offering it for rent.”

Some of the messages sent from the scammer were posted to the Homes For Rent Albany Western Australia Facebook page. (Homes For Rent Albany Western Australia Facebook page)

The Hill Street property is proving to be popular with the scam, given this is not the first time Ms Milentis has had reports of it being used this way.

The scam is also being held across multiple platforms, including Facebook and Gumtree, and despite the adverts being reported they just keep cropping up. 

“Yesterday I received an email from another person advising me they too had been approached by a person claiming to be the owner of 14 Gresham Terrace in Bayonet Head via her ad on Gumtree, and she just wanted me to be aware of this,” said Ms Milentis.

Checking with local agents for scam properties 

The owners also aren’t happy about the scams, as they understand the strains on availabilities in the region and the issues renters are facing, and it’s also been difficult having their properties identities stolen to use in the scams because there is really not much they can do about it.

Ray White Rural is urging those who have been contacted by scammers to report it to the police straight away, as well as reporting the post on the platform it appears and contacting DMIRS. 

The post Ray White Rural has shared warning of the scams on the Homes For Rent Albany Western Australia Facebook page. (Homes For Rent Albany Western Australia (Facebook))

“[I] have stressed for them not to provide any of their personal details or bank details to these people. 

“I have also suggested that if they are contacted with an offer of a private rental to simply Google the address and it will show if the property is listed with an agent and then they can easily contact the agent for confirmation on whether they have been approached by a scammer or not,” said Ms Milentis. 

“Agents will in general not contact tenants via these avenues.”

“Agents will in general not contact tenants via these avenues.”

Remaining vigilant and reporting the best approach

Ms Milentis would like everyone to remain vigilant during the difficult period renters are facing, as the scams may increase and get more complex.

“If they are approached by someone direct via Facebook, Gumtree or any other means they need to question the validity of the information being provided to them and if they are being scammed, to report it immediately. 

“There are quite a lot of vulnerable people out there at the moment.”

“There are quite a lot of vulnerable people out there at the moment.”

14 Gresham Terrace is another local property that has been used in the scams (Ray White Rural )

Read more like this: 

Housing crisis shows no signs of improvement as rental affordability hits low income earners

Albany tenants fear eviction as rental moratorium encroaches

 The small homes that could play a big role in solving regional WA’s housing crisis

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