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Calgary police investigate rental scam in city’s northwest

Police vehicles at Calgary Police Service headquarters in Calgary on April 9, 2020. Jeff McIntosh /CP

Calgary police say they are investigating a rental scam that occurred in the city’s northwest on Sunday.

According to a Tuesday news release, the victim arrived at a residence in the 5000 block of Benson Road Northwest after arranging a viewing of a basement suite.

Prior to the viewing, the victim sent a deposit through e-transfer to the alleged scammer in exchange for the suite being put on hold.

When the victim arrived, they found another victim there for a scheduled viewing. The second victim also sent a deposit through e-transfer with the impression the suite would be reserved.

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When no one arrived to show the suite, the victims discovered the online ad was fraudulent and not posted by the homeowner. The suspect blocked the two victims and deleted the online ad.

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Police believe the suspect has several other ads posted for similar rental properties across Calgary. Anyone with information about the fraudulent rentals is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers.

The police also published a few tips to help people who are looking for rentals:

  • Only deal with landlords who are local. If they refuse to meet in person, it could be a red flag.
  • Ask to do a walk-through of the property with the landlord so you can document the condition of the property before moving in.
  • Be suspicious if a landlord is urging you to pay any amount of money prior to seeing the property.
  • Research the average rental rates in the area and be suspicious if the rate is significantly lower.
  • Do not give out personal information such as social insurance number, bank account, or credit card number.

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