Police are warning residents in Portsmouth to remain vigilant about rental fraud and scams.
On Thursday 3 December it was reported to us that a property in Milton had been advertised for rent on social media fraudulently.
An 18-year-old girl from Southsea paid £1000 for a deposit on the property, which turned out to be a scam.
Investigations into this incident are ongoing.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind people to be vigilant when renting property, particularly property advertised via social media.
Some ways that you can protect yourself from rental fraud are:
Don’t send money to anyone advertising rental properties online until you’re certain that the advertiser is genuine.
Don’t 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.
Don’t be pressured 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.
Police staff investigator Catherine Cole said: “We are asking those looking for rental properties to be aware and report to us if you’ve seen or been involved in anything that has made you feel uncomfortable or suspicious.
“We echo the advice from Action Fraud and urge you not to feel pressured into transferring large sums of money.
“Until you’re certain that the advertiser is genuine, don’t send any money to anyone advertising rental properties online.
“If you have experienced something that seems suspicious, call 999 in an emergency. If you have any information on this crime, please call 101 and quote reference 44200467397.
“If you need to report something that is not urgent, you can do so by visiting our website - www.hampshire.police.uk.”