October 4, 2022
  • October 4, 2022

Sunshine State scams snatch bonds from potential tenants

By on August 30, 2022 0

Sunshine State scams snatch bonds from potential tenants

A series of rental scams on the Sunshine Coast that emerged last week highlight the ever-constant threat of cybercrime.

Code Property Group has reported a series of cases where hackers pose as real estate agents to collect bonds from tenants in an emotionally fragile state as they search for a property inside. Queensland’s incredibly tight rental market.

The scheme sees hackers posing as local real estate agents, weaving an intricate web of lies to gain trust and ultimately financial reward by tricking potential tenants into parting with bond money for a property in which they will never reside.

Initiated by tenants contacted by email asking if they are in a property that the scammer is “renting”. Upon first contact, and depending on the tenant’s response, the hacker will investigate the areas the victim wishes to move to, before using a simple Google search to bring up the respective properties and agents in those desired areas, which becomes the foundation of the scam.

As part of the scam, the tenant receives communication from a “trusted” real estate agent who even sends fake rental contracts – with the company’s logo – which adds credibility to the scheme.

As part of developing defenses against such scams, Code Property Group has provided its best advice for cybersecurity and rental property applications, which are:

  1. Always verify that communications from an agent’s email address correctly match their name and website listing.
  2. Never transfer money to an unknown bank account – real estate agencies often have a trust account that includes the name of the agency, not an individual person’s account.
  3. Agents often call successful candidates to congratulate them and clarify details; wait for this verbal agreement for a rental contract.
  4. Contact the agents directly if you are interested in a property. Most agents have their phone number and email address displayed next to their listed property.

Scams cost Australians more than $300 million in 2021and this figure is expected to increase with the first quarter of 2022, which will see Australians lose $72 million to scams, an increase of $10 million from the same period last year.

Code Property Group has concluded that it is paramount that applicants seeking rentals remain vigilant when disclosing their personal information online, with victims being encouraged to report their crime via scamwatch.gov.au.

Sunshine State scams snatch bonds from potential tenants

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Last updated: August 30, 2022

Posted: August 30, 2022

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