Rental fraud is where someone pretending to be a landlord or agent tricks a potential renter into paying a deposit or other upfront fee by for a property that they don’t have the right to let out. The property might not exist, or it might already be someone else’s home. The fraudster may even take money from multiple people for the same property.
Tips to avoid scammers.
Don’t send money to anyone advertising property unless you are sure they are genuine. Landlords in Scotland are required to register with the Local Authority in which they are letting out a property and must include their landlord registration number in their adverts. You can check the landlord registration database.
Try to visit the property with the Landlord or agent prior to paying any money, if you can’t do this yourself ask a friend, relative or reliable local to go on your behalf.
Make sure you get a copy of the tenancy agreement and any relevant safety certificates.
If you are being asked for a deposit this cannot be more than 2 months’ rent by law in Scotland. Rent in advance payments cannot be for more than 6 months.
If you are sending money by bank transfer, ask for the details directly from the person you have been communicating with. Most banks now offer a confirmation of payee service where they will check the name you have been given against the name attached to an account number and sort code. If this information is incorrect, double check with the landlord as it may be an indication you are being scammed.
Do not feel pressure to transfer large sums of money. Be extra cautious if you are asked to use a money transfer service like Western Union.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of Rental Fraud report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or Police Scotland on 101.