Real estate agent calls online platforms to facilitate fraudulent rental listings
A Dorset real estate agent called out Facebook Marketplaces, Airbnb and other lightly law enforcement online platforms for allowing criminals to scam tenants through bogus rental property listings.
Phil Skorochod (pictured), who runs the Bournemouth branch of the national chain Martin & Co, told a BBC investigation into the problem he was seeing crooks using photos and legitimate details stolen from the internet to entice potential tenants to pay cash in advance for rentals which will never materialize.
the It’s not a new problem but is raging particularly strong right now, as virtual tours become more acceptable among house hunters and competition for properties intensifies as the stock decreases.
While only agents can upload to established real estate portals like Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket, anyone can advertise properties for rent on websites like Facebook’s Marketplace, classified websites like GumTree, and rental platforms. short term such as Airbnb.
This leaves the door wide open for criminals who can advertise rental properties without scrutiny.
Rental scam at 3000 €
the BBC survey in Bournemouth revealed a woman who had been left homeless after losing £ 3,000 to a rental scammer who stole photos of a property for sale from an agent’s website and took them used to advertise it “for rent”. She was later told that she was one of the many potential tenants scammed by the scam.
“It’s not a financial scam, it’s a scam on people’s lives… it destroys their whole meaning of life,” Skorochod said.
“Worse yet, the police say this is a civil, not criminal matter and will not interfere.
Photo credit: BBC