Lookout for Social Media Scammers

September, 2022

As demand for rental property increases, with strong competition in Norwich, It is understandable why some tenants could try other methods to look for a rental property, forgoing the more time-consuming options of registering with a letting agent or property portals in favour of Facebook. 
Facebook Marketplace might seem like a great place to find a new home if you're on the lookout for one. Unsuspecting renters have, however, been scammed by scammers posing as landlords. Only yesterday we spoke with a tenant that had just lost hundreds to someone posing as a Norwich landlord.
In many cases, contacting a landlord you know and trust may result in a property being secured, but posting a general plea on social media or searching marketplace comes with risks. There is a possibility that you might not only miss out on a property, but you may also lose your much-needed deposit.
Here are some red flags to look out for –

  • Scammers will exploit readily available information (such as images and descriptions) on estate agent websites and portals to make their postings appear authentic. The only distinction is in the contact information.
  • To gain trust, scammers will communicate directly via Messenger, text, or email. They'll say anything to get you to send them money.
  • Scammers will urge tenants to pay in cash or via platforms such as PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, Western Union, or MoneyGram, then disappear with the money. Victims who have lost money nearly never recover it.
  • Scammers frequently use disposable accounts that have recently been created or hacked into. You cannot trust that the scammer would use their true identity, and these accounts frequently disappear after being reported or disabled. This does not prevent the scammers from creating new accounts and repeating their schemes.


rental scam facebook

What can you do to ensure that you aren’t duped by the scammers -
Keep an eye out for classic symptoms of questionable posts, such as ambiguous remarks, low prices, a lack of images, and no contact information. Arlington Park, like many other agents, watermarks all of their photos. Check if the person who posted the photographs and the contact information match the agent's website. The photographs were most likely obtained from the agent's website.
Be aware of landlords that have multiple listings posted at the same time, especially if they are located all over the country. It is unusual for a landlord to have more than one property accessible at the same time, and it is much more unusual for them to have properties spread over numerous counties.
Do not connect with anyone who does not have a photo on their profile or who asks you to click on a link because it could be a phishing scam. Make an effort to enquire about the property in person (not through email).
Always view the property before signing any contracts or handing over money, and be wary of anyone who requests cash payments in advance.
If you're looking for a rental property online, it's critical to choose choose a place that looks respectable and trustworthy. Here are some pointers for locating high-quality rental listings:

  • Always investigate the listing. You may also want to look at other listings on various websites.
  • Check that the contact information is correct and up to date. This is usually the greatest approach to determine whether or not someone is genuine.
  • Perform a Google search of the landlord's name and listing address to check if any other websites mention it; often local reddit feeds, Facebook groups, or sites like Next Door will note whether anyone has been duped by this listing.
  • If feasible, request references from previous tenants. Previous renters will usually know what to expect from the landlord and will be able to vouch for their character.
  • Be aware of "too good to be true" deals and ambiguous signals from landlords. If the landlord is providing a price that is significantly lower than what the property truly costs, there is either something wrong with the property or they are attempting to defraud you.
  • Alternatively, avoid Facebook Marketplace entirely and approach letting agents directly or via property portals.
rental scam facebook

No matter what, beware and be safe online!
If you're looking for a good price, Facebook Marketplace may have a hidden gem for you. However, you should avoid putting your safety at danger by renting from someone you don't know or trust. Before handing over any money, always conduct research to ensure that they are genuine landlords or legitimate businesses—always protect yourself! Malicious individuals will always exist, but the best we can do is be aware of the hazards and protect oneself online.
At Arlington Park, we will NEVER ask you to pay for anything through social media, PayPal, or the like, and we will NEVER ask for bank information before the application process has begun and only after you've inspected the property.

We must adhere to tight procedures. If you have any doubts about whether any correspondence from us is genuine, please call us and speak to a member of the team.
If you believe you have been or are being victimised by a rental scam, please contact Action Fraud via its website.https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/rental-fraud or by phoning 0300 123 2040. If you have been scammed, defrauded, or suffered cybercrime in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.
In Scotland contact Citizens Advice via https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/ or by phoning 0808 164 6000

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