March 6, 2019 10:48 pm

B.C. couple sounds alarm over online scam advertising listed New West home for rent

WATCH: Jordan Armstrong has a warning from a B.C. couple who caught on to a rental scam before they became victims.

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With rental vacancy rates around Metro Vancouver hovering near one percent, many would-be tenants are being tempted to forego due diligence in order to find a place to live.

But, of course, some people are taking advantage of that situation.

Brittany deGagne, who is a Global BC employee, and her boyfriend saw a Craigslist ad for a house in New Westminster available for rent.

READ MORE: Vancouver-area contractor nearly swindled by scammer who claimed to own an unsold home

But despite corresponding with the supposed owner, they thought something seemed strange.

“They said that he and his wife had relocated to San Antonio, Texas for work reasons,” deGagne said.

WATCH: (Aired April 17, 2017) Anne Drewa breaks down how to protect yourself as reports of rental scams rise

The scammer sent deGagne a rental application asking for her driver’s licence, current address, and a down payment before moving in or even seeing the property. deGagne says that was a major red flag.

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“Luckily, I’ve been in the market and I realize that’s something that you should never do,” she said.

deGagne and her boyfriend drove to the property and saw a real estate sign out front. They called the Realtor, Anny Kosovic, who told them the property was for sale — not for rent.

The fake Craigslist ad used photos and descriptions from Kosovic’s legitimate real estate posting without her knowledge. She said it’s not the first time a scammer has targeted one of her listings.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfire evacuee falls victim to rental housing scam

“It’s happening a lot because the rental market is pretty tight right now,” Kosovic said.

Kosovic had some advice for those searching for a rental: never give a deposit unless you’ve physically walked through the property, met the landlord and have confirmed who owns the property.

deGagne didn’t lose money, but she did lose precious time in her property search. She’s still looking for a legitimate place to rent.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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