RCMP are warning the public of a rental scam after a Nanaimo man was defrauded of thousands of dollars earlier this month. 

The incident, which occurred in early July, involved a home in the 600-block of Bowen Road. 

According to the complainant’s report to police, he had responded to a rental ad on the website Zillow. 

The man began communicating with a woman, who went by the name of Ginger Reed, regarding the house on Bowen Road. 

Reed was asking for one months rent up front and another month’s rent in order to turn the keys over. 

She provided an email where the rent money could be e-transferred, and told the man that the keys and documents for the home would be delivered to him once the money was received. 

Reed then sent the man a copy of the lease documents and an out-of-province driver’s license with the name and picture for Ginger Reed, to prove identity. 

The next day, the man went to the home listed on the ad, which appeared to be occupied with several vehicles parked in the driveway. 

The man was able to confirm that Reed’s name was not on the ownership title of the home, coming to the conclusion that he had been scammed. He did not forward the remainder of the money. 

The man contacted police and handed over the fake documents he had received. 

Investigators then contacted Zillow and the advertisement was taken down. 

The investigation is ongoing. 

“There were several red flags in this transaction however the man cannot be faulted as this was a fairly sophisticated scam,” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Nanaimo RCMP have provided some tips to consider before entering into a rental agreement: 

  • the landlord does not meet you in person
  • The landlord does not require credit or reference check
  • Name of the landlord is not on the rental documents
  • There is a different name for the recipient of the e-transfer
  • The home is already occupied
  • Do a google search of the address and landlord
  • Talk to the neighbours
  • Arrange to do a walk through of the unit
  • Be familiar with the Residential Tenancy Branch rules and regulations

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