Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Fake Landlord Rent Scam - Advance Rental Payment Fraud

How to avoid getting scammed out of your house

By Frank O'Brien - Inman News - Toronto Canada 06/03

The Toronto couple couldn't believe their good fortune. They had found a modern two-bedroom house close to downtown available to rent for only $2,000. After showing them the house, the landlord asked for the first and last month's rent in certified checks.

"It was such a good deal we never thought twice about it," said Janet W., the potential tenant, who, with her husband, was soon packing. When they arrived two weeks later to move into their dream home, however, they awoke to a nightmare. The "landlord" had rented the house out to 12 other potential tenants, pocketing more than $25,000 in deposits before skipping town. It turned out the phony owner had actually rented the house himself just a few weeks before advertising it for rent.

Real estate schemes, scams and fraud all constitute a form of theft which criminals use to steal your cash or even your home. And Canadian police departments say they are increasing in number and sophistication.

Con artists may use several methods to swindle you in a real estate fraud scheme. Foreclosure bailout, home equity fraud, home renovation scams, rental fraud and deceptive timeshare scams are just a few types of real estate frauds now popping up.

No Joke, You're Busted!

WILMINGTON, DE- April 1, 2004 - (AP) State police have charged a 48-year-old Wilmington man with at least 24 aliases, saying he tried to rent a house in Newark that he doesn't own.

Police say Artis Bratcher is charged with attempted theft by false pretense, forgery and criminal impersonation.

A woman told police she made a verbal agreement with an Andre Rochester to rent a property. Before she met with him to give him a security deposit, she learned he didn't own the property.

She called police, who staked out site of the scheduled meeting. He was arrested and police say his fingerprints revealed his true identity.