Renters urged to spot the signs of Tenancy Deposit Scheme fraud
Action Fraud has received reports of fraudsters claiming to be landlords of rented properties available online.
- Action Fraud is warning the public that fraudsters are claiming to be landlords to trick people into paying upfront ‘rent’ into Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).
- This comes as 28 reports were made to Action Fraud between December 2018 and February 2019 alone – amounting to a total loss of £19,990.
How is this happening?
Action Fraud has received reports of fraudsters claiming to be landlords of rented properties available online. Prior to viewing the property, the fraudster asks the victim to pay a deposit and in some cases a month’s rent upfront. They claim that the money will be protected by Tenancy Deposit Scheme and that the money is safeguarded under Government legislation.
After the individual pays the money, the fraudster sends a bogus email claiming to be from Tenancy Deposit Scheme confirming they have received their deposit. Victims are later discovering that the money is being sent directly to the fraudster and that they have been left out of pocket and with no home to move into as a result.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, yesterday said:
“Devious fraudsters are targeting a whole host of victims, from university students to professionals, for their own selfish gain.
“Falling victim to rental fraud can have a huge impact on your finances at a crucial time where every penny counts. This is why it’s so important to follow our advice to protect yourself.
“If you think you have been a victim, report it to us.”
CEO of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, Steve Harriott yesterday said:
“Whilst the deposits are never actually protected through TDS, we’re keen to make sure consumers in the market are protected.
“The fraudulent activity includes large sums of money and we want to raise awareness to stop people from falling victim to this type of activity.
“If anyone has any queries or isn’t sure about whether or not the process they’re being asked to follow is correct, they can contact TDS who will be more than happy to guide them”.
What you should do:
- Always make sure you, or a reliable contact, has viewed the property with an agent or landlord before agreeing to rent a property.
- Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Only transfer funds when you’re satisfied a genuine property, safety certificates and valid contract are in place.
- Only pay for goods or service by bank transfer if you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.
- Once you’ve paid your deposit, you can check whether it’s protected by entering your tenancy deposit certificate code on TDS website.
- Every report matters – if you’ve been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
We provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and cyber crime.
The easiest way to report fraud and cyber crime is by using our online reporting tool.Report
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