Downtown Vancouver rental scam duped people out of hundreds of dollars

WATCH (above): A rental scam has conned at least five people out of hundreds of dollars. Ted Chernecki reports.

There’s a rental scam happening at  Vancouver apartment that’s duped at least five people out of hundreds of dollars.

Global News found out the victims all answered an ad for a rental suite and spoke to a woman, who claimed to co-own the downtown Vancouver unit. All of them believed they rented the apartment after signing a lease and handing over at least $400 for a damage deposit.

But the would-be renters did not end up getting what they paid for from the alleged fraudster, who goes by many names, one of which is ‘Mandy’.

“On May 5 we did the damage deposit and the lease,” David Hunt, a victim of the scam said.

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“Then once I actually gave her the damage deposit, she had me sign a lease, which was fake. Apparently it was printed [from the web]. As soon as I left I knew something was up.”

Global News contacted the actual owner of the unit by phone and he said he’s aware of the allegations against his tenant but under the B.C. Tenancy Act he cannot reveal anything about his renter. Additionally, he cannot evict her easily without any hard evidence.

Another scam victim, Namkyun Lim tried to threaten the alleged rental fraudster with calling the police if she didn’t return his money. Lim said, “she started laughing at me and said ‘okay try, go ahead.'”

Global News retrieved photos of the tenant from her Facebook profile, which has since been deleted.

Tsveta Tchernokojeva realized a few days later that she had been deceived about the apartment rental and posted an ad on Craigslist about the incident.

“I posted an ad on Craigslist to find more people who were in the same situation as me and I found some other people,” Tchernokojeva said.

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Based on her response from the craigslist inquiry, they believe there are at least eight victims in this one case.

“The same night she was supposed to meet me and give me my money back and the police were supposed to meet her… that same night, she posted a new ad and got another couple,” Hunt said.

Global News attempted to reach the woman known as Mandy on the phone and in person but got no response.