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Victoria online rental scams prompt VicPD warning

Police are warning renters, particularly new university students, to be weary of online scams as they hunt for a place to call home.

The most common scam asks the potential renter to send a money order to the out-of-town landlord in exchange for a key to the residence.

"In many cases, the house or apartment advertised is factitious," said Const. Mike Russell.

VicPD is offering renters several tips to help avoid online scams. They include:

  • meeting the owner or representative in person to view the property
  • contacting a reputable property management firm to help in your search
  • if calling from outside Victoria, get enough detailed information from talking to the owner or representative to feel comfortable
  • using Google Earth to make sure the property exists
  • comparing rental rates in the area to ensure the deal isn't too good to be true
  • reporting any suspicious ads to the website host

"If you do fall victim to one of these scams, call your local police department," Russell said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

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