Would-be renters are being warned to take extra precautions after a scammer reportedly duped at least four people with a bogus ad for a Langley home.
Lillian and Dwain Seymour say their home was fraudulently posted as a property for rent, using photos of the exterior of the property, but with phony photos showing the interior of a different house.
The homeowners said the issue began to crop up about mid-September, including vehicles doing slow drive-bys of the property.
“We’ve had people stopping out at our driveway for quite a time just looking in,” Lillian Seymour said.
According to the Seymours, the post — which has since been removed — told the would-be tenants not to knock on the door or go onto the property, so as not to disturb the “current tenants.”
“They were told apparently not to come in and bother the tenants that were here now,” Dwain Seymour said. “So that kept anyone from coming in and finding out the truth.”
The Seymours said it appears at least four people were actually scammed, including one woman who showed up at the house on Monday with four kids, ready to move in.
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Lillian Seymour said the woman was adamant she had a contract for the rental.
“Very, very upset. She was wanting to move in today,” Lillian said. “She put a deposit of $800 to these people.”
Lillian’s son, who was home at the time, told the victim to go to the police.
Langley RCMP confirmed it was aware of the scam, and said renters — just like other online shoppers — need to be careful.
“If you feel you are getting a really good deal, look at it twice. Get a friend to look at it, get someone else to look at it with you, make sure you are getting a really good deal,” said Langley RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Craig van Herk.
“The too-good-to-be-true deal is oftentimes too good to be true. If you’re feeling pressured by someone — pressured not to go and visit, not to do any of the regular research — those are all signs.”
Van Herk said if money is being exchanged, try to ensure there is a paper trail, or at least make sure the deal is done in person and in public, as being asked to buy something sight unseen should always be a red flag.
-With files from Catherine Urquhart