Single dad in Calgary warns others after losing $2,200 in alleged rental scam

Click to play video: 'Calgary single father out $2,200 after alleged rental scam'
Calgary single father out $2,200 after alleged rental scam
A Calgary father is warning other renters about a possible scam. As Tomasia DaSilva reports, he showed up at a home he thought was his, only to find someone else living there. – Oct 1, 2021

A single father in Calgary is warning others after allegedly being scammed out of $2,200 and a place to live.

Joe Brockman thought he and his four-year-old son Luca were moving into a new home this week, but it turns out someone else was already living there.

The 26 year old said he had been talking with a landlord named Mark Fababs since the middle of August. He said they agreed he would rent a home in the northwest community of Arbour Lake at the start of October.

Brockman said he was not able to go check out the place himself, but was sent photos. He was also sent a rental agreement, which he assumed was legitimate.

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He added he didn’t meet with Fababs in-person because he was told he was working out of town.

Brockman then sent Fababs numerous payments, packed up all of his family’s belongings and drove a U-Haul to the home Wednesday morning.

“He told me the move-out tenants would leave a key under a flower pot for me. So I checked the flower pots. I walked around the house, looked everywhere for this spare key.”

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He then contacted Fababs, who told him to access the garage door code. When Brockman told him it wasn’t working, Fababs said the tenants must have changed the code.

Click to play video: 'Scam cheats prospective Edmonton renters'
Scam cheats prospective Edmonton renters

Brockman said he then started to get suspicious.

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“I peeked into the house and it looked like somebody was living in the house,” he said. “When I rang the doorbell, a lady answered, saying that she owned the house and the house wasn’t for rent.”

“She said that she owned the house and the property wasn’t for rent and she kept saying that over and over again, so I got back in my U-Haul and I called police.”

Calgary Police confirmed to Global News they are investigating this case. They also said rental scams have been an issue in the city for many years.

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Consumer Matters: Online rental scams thriving

A spokesperson said there are some key things prospective renters need to do to keep from being victimized. They include only dealing with local landlords and being suspicious if asked to pay only using a wire transfer service.

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Police also advise not to give out any personal or financial information until confirming if the person on the other end is legitimate.

Brockman tried to contact Fababs several times after finding out the home was not in fact for rent. His many calls and messages were never answered.

Global News also tried repeatedly to contact Fababs at the number provided on the rental agreement as well as the address provided on the money transfer, attempts that also went unanswered.

Global News reached out to the family that lives in the home. They declined to talk on-camera but did say they are helping police with the investigation.

Brockman was able to extend the stay at his current place — for a week — at an extra cost while he looks for a new place to call home.

“I’ve hit hardship after hardship. I’m a single dad just literally trying to get above and ahead of things right now. And I can’t. It just seems that I can’t.”

Brockman’s fortunes turned around Friday morning.

He contacted Global News with an update: he and his son have found a legitimate rental and are moving in this weekend.


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