Watch out! New property scam hits St Albans
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Prospective tenants are being warned to be vigilant about a new scam involving rented property after one victim lost £2,000.
The con involves placing an advert on Gumtree or other social media platforms offering a property to rent, usually because the owner is overseas, or it's an investment property and currently empty.
They point people towards a legitimate 'For Sale' listing with a bonafide agent on the basis that they were thinking of selling the property but would rent if someone is interested.
All seems legitimate at first but they will then ask for a deposit or fees before sending out a contract. Once the deposit/fee is sent that is the last the victim will hear from them.
Steve Walker, director of St Albans estate agents Collinson Hall, warned: "I heard of precisely this happening and the unfortunate person has lost £2,000 as a consequence. It is being reported to the police and who knows they may get something back but suspect it is unlikely.
"I think people should be made aware of the scam. Clearly if it were one of our properties involved we would invite anyone to contact us to check out the details before parting with any money. Renting through an agent will also avoid this problem but I appreciate that is not always possible."