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Rental fraud

Rental fraud happens when would-be tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property.

In reality, the property does not exist, has already been rented out, or has been rented to multiple victims at the same time.

The victim loses the upfront fee they have paid and is not able to rent the property they thought they had secured with the payment. Rental fraudsters often target students looking for university accommodation.

Rental fraud is a type of advance fee fraud.

Protect yourself from rental fraud:

  • Do not send money to anyone advertising rental properties online until you are certain the advertiser is genuine.
  • If you need to secure accommodation in the UK from overseas, seek the help of the employer or university you are coming to, or get a friend, contact or relative to check the property exists and is available.
  • Do not pay any money until you or a reliable contact has visited the property with an agent or the landlord.
  • Ask for copies of tenancy agreements and any safety certificates such as Gas Electricity or HMO Licence.
  • Do not be pressurised into transferring large sums of money. Transfer funds to a bank account having obtained the details by contacting the landlord or agent directly after the above steps have been followed. Be sceptical if you’re asked to transfer any money via a money transfer service like Western Union.

How to report it

If Fraud has been committed report it to Action Fraud. For more advice and to raise any concerns, contact the Office of the Public Guardian.

See also:
Advance fee fraud
Property fraud
Property investor scams

Source - Action Fraud

Date Published: Nov 13, 2019

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Fraud is when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person.

Advance fee fraud

Advance fee fraud is when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

Corporate fraud

Corporate fraud can be any fraud committed against a business.

Individual fraud

Individual fraud could be any fraud that targets a person directly. Individual frauds can differ from frauds affecting businesses and other organisations.

Online fraud

Some fraudsters rely on the internet to commit their crimes. Learn about some different types of internet frauds that and how to protect yourself and get safe online.

Identity fraud and identity theft

Identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and identity fraud is when those details are used to commit fraud.
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