Sunday, April 21, 2024

Beware of Cottage Rental Scams

Throughout the month of March Grey Bruce Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be focusing on the most common frauds being reported.

Grey Bruce OPP are in the heart of cottage country. During the summer season, people search the internet for rental cottage properties. When they find an ad for a cottage to rent, it will often include a photo and a description of the property. The description will also include the price to rent either by the week or month, and the client will be asked to pay a deposit or the rental fee in full via online banking to a specific location in advance of the rental period. When the renter shows up for their vacation, the cottage either does not exist at the address provided, or it is someone’s home that was never available for rent.

It is very hard to detect a cottage rental scam. Some tips are:

  • Call and speak directly with someone if you can, preferably the owner.
  • Ask to see the property ahead of time if possible and before any money is transferred.
  • Ask for references from previous renters.

The sad reality is that in many cases once the money is paid out it is very hard to get back if at all. In some cases, scammers are very sophisticated criminals and often there is no recourse to recover lost funds. The best thing people can do is to protect themselves from becoming victims in the first place.

If you or someone you know may have been the victim of a cottage rental scam, contact your local police service or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

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