‘Are you serious?’: Cruel new scam targeting desperate renters

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Scammers are now targeting desperate renters trying to find somewhere to live by baiting them with prices too good to be true.

Shocking text messages have revealed how “landlords” are luring in potential victims by advertising attractive properties with lower than usual rental prices.

After gaining interest, they will then ask the desperate person looking to rent to pay a deposit to be able to go and view the property.

Sydneysider Cihan Kenar almost fell victim to this scam after inquiring about a three-bedroom, freestanding house situated around his local area of Rosebery and advertised for $400 a week.

Despite this being well below market price at the moment, he decided it was worth at least going for an inspection.

However after agreeing to a time to meet up, the “landlord” texted last minute to cancel – but offered an alternative solution.

They asked if Mr Kenar would be willing to pay a deposit to come see the house, and said if he did not like the property, he would be able to get a refund.

The ‘landlord’ text asking for a deposit, before he had even seen the house. Picture: FacebookThe ‘landlord’ text asking for a deposit, before he had even seen the house. Picture: Facebook

“This seemed very odd, it was a three-bedroom and freestanding house,” he told 7 News.

“This is way below the market value. I asked some questions about the house and said I can come and see it. The address given was only seven minutes away.”

Mr Kenar was livid after the landlord’s text.

“They asked if I can put a deposit down to secure the property,” he said.

“They were basically asking me to act quickly as to not lose such a great deal. This really made me realise it was a scam.”

The scammer told Mr Kenar that they were “very busy” and promised to come by the next day if a deposit was made.

“To be honest with you, I suppose [sic] to be there today but currently like this I’m very busy at work,” they wrote.

“Definitely tomorrow by 4.25pm. You can see I’m just responding to all request now because I’m busy and they’re [sic] many request.

“If you can drop your information and make a refundable deposit to secure it now. Then once we meet tomorrow and the house doesn’t suit, your money will be refunded immediately.”

The angry renter decided to tell the scammer how he felt, before blocking him for good.

Are you f**king serious?” Mr Kenar replied.

Sydney is the midst of a rental crisis. Picture: Chris Pavlich/The AustralianSydney is the midst of a rental crisis. Picture: Chris Pavlich/The Australian

“You bait me with a cheap rent and ask for a deposit?”

After posting about the infuriating interaction on a Facebook group, Mr Kenar discovered that he was not the only one who had been targeted by this scam.

“They asked me to do the same, so I drove to the house and this house has never been up for rent,” one local said. “The lady who owns the property said she would never put her house up for rent or sell.”

“I talked to her too, what a nutcase!” another person said.

Mr Kenar said he was disgusted by the scammer’s tactics and wanted to use this opportunity to warn others.

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“He was making me hurry to secure the place and claimed others are interested,” he said.

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Ask to see the property. Ask questions.”

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