Fake rental listing in British Columbia highlights threat of scam

Vancouver renters are warned of a scam involving AirBnb listings advertised as available for longer term rental.

Photos posted on a local Reddit page Wednesday morning shows an exchange of text messages between two strangers. One is a woman who says she went to a rental listing, realized something was wrong, and contacted someone who she says lived there.

“Found an ad on Craigslist for your $2,300 a month loft,” the woman wrote in a text message, explaining that she decided to contact the other person after going to the tour and seeing his phone number. telephone on a construction panel. “I left, went to my car, found your place on Airbnb and called the non-emergency police line.”

The resulting exchange of text messages suggests that two women are arranging the viewings and asking people for a cash deposit to secure the spot for Dec. 1. speak with the owners and see the papers.

With rising costs, low vacancy rates and high demand for short- and long-term rentals in British Columbia, the Better Business Bureau says rental scams account for just over 3% of all scams reported in British Columbia.

“We suspect the true number is much higher, as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center estimates that only 5% of fraud cases end up being reported,” BBB President Simone Lis wrote in an email to CTV News.

She calls Vancouver’s current market “the perfect storm for scam artists out to trick any potential tenant who is simply trying to secure space in this growing city.”

National office data shows that the average amount of money lost by Canadians in these scams is $1,230, an increase of nearly 51% from 2021.

The scam usually consists of people listing someone else’s property that they gained access to through a short term rental.

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