Police are warning islanders to be extra careful when searching for rentals on Facebook after a spate of scams led to a collective loss of £22,000 - and one family without a home to live in.
Currently, the Joint Financial Crimes Unit within the Force are dealing with 26 separate complaints of fraud relating to these property scams, all linked to false Facebook profiles.
The scammers run false adverts for properties to rent below the average rental price on local Facebook selling pages targeting those who are desperate for housing, including families with young children and people without housing qualifications.
The interested party will be encouraged to contact the scammer online, usually over Facebook Messenger. They will then usually be told they must pay the deposit before they can view the property to secure it. This deposit can often be a month’s rent.
After the transfer of funds has taken place, the scammer simply disappears and cannot be contacted.
Pictured: £22,000 has been scammed from islanders by fraudsters falsely advertising rental properties.
It is believed many of these particular scams are being carried out by the same person.
“Some of these victims have lost all their savings, and one family were made homeless by giving notice on their home, believing they were moving into the new rental property. The emotional impact on the people caught up in this scam has been very traumatic for them," Investigating Officer Faith Shalamon said.
“Anyone interested in moving into a property should never part with any money until they have seen any advertised property in person and met with the landlord or estate agent.”
Anyone who thinks they may be a victim of a rental/property scam should report it to police on 01534 612612.
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