Sunday, May 16, 2010

Con men pose as Landlords in Online Scams

As reported in The Straits Times Friday, May 14 2010


Statistics showed that for the last 2 years, one person fell victim to a property rental scam nearly every day!


Please be aware and beware of such happenings, right in Singapore!
Growing up in a safe and sheltered environment, perhaps we are bringing our complacency online. It could also be why foreigners are more trusting dealing with "Singaporeans" online?


This property rental online scam is targeted at expatriates or foreigners (it can be anybody!) looking to rent properties here. 


How the scam works?
(1) These con men place advertisements advertising properties for rent, respond to notices posted on property websites and trough the online forums.


(2) They will claim that they are not in Singapore and hence, viewing of the property is impossible.


(3) They will send pictures and addresses of the property to be rented out. (Some addresses that were traced by the journalist had properties that were not even built yet or were retail shops)


So please take note before you send or wire any money.


How to avoid falling victim to rental scams?
(1) If you are a foreigner, check with your companies' human resources departments in Singapore for help in finding apartments.
(2) Request all parties - including landlords and agents - to be present when signing documents or making payments in cash
(3) Avoid making payments in cash
(4) To check if the landlords are the genuine homeowners, an online check can be done on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore's website


Caution
Do not fall victim to the scams!

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