A former tenant of a home in Colwood is suspected of posing as the property’s owner to steal money from prospective renters.
West Shore RCMP say they’ve had to separate reports of a rental scam relating to the residence on the 2800-block of Pickford Avenue.
They say that in both cases, the victims had spoken with a man who said he was the owner of the home.
He agreed to rent out his residence to them and then collected a cash deposit from the victims.
RCMP say when they showed up to move in, they were met by the actual property owner who let them know the home was not for rent and that they’d been scammed.
“Police have learned that at one point in time the suspect rented a room at the very same property and therefore had knowledge of the home,” aid Cst. Nancy Saggar, West Shore RCMP.
“The suspect has been using the alias of Jason Leblanc.”
RCMP are asking anyone who may have been scammed in a similar way by someone using the same alias to come forward.
They are also offering tips on how to protect yourself against rental fraud.
- Use a reputable renting website or go to the property management office itself
- Do an internet search on the address and see if anything suspicious pops up
- If the rental price is too good to be true – it’s likely a fraud
- Don’t make a deposit in cash, cash is not traceable
- Don’t wire money, wire transfers are extremely hard to cancel and trace
- Don’t give out personal information like your S.I.N number, bank account or credit card
- Make sure you are speaking with the landowner or property manager
- Ask the surrounding neighbours about the landowner and property history (neighbours should be able to tell you who lives next door and if they are the owner or not)
If you have any information, please call West Shore RCMP 250-474-2264 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.