Realty Executives of Sudbury Ltd.
The Caswell Team
The Caswell Team
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Every day we hear about a new scam that shady people are using to detach good folks from their hard-earned money. It’s safe to say, by now, you’ve received plenty of emails about your deceased family member’s multi-million dollar fortune is sitting in the UK or how a prince in Nigeria needs you to accept a billion dollars into your account to help them transfer it over and you’ll get to keep a big chunk. And, of course, there’s the phone attempts from “Canada Revenue” that need your credit card asap or you’ll be arrested.
Let’s face it – the people that perpetrate these scams are jerks. But that’s little satisfaction to the people that fall victim to these scams. It is nauseating to think of the people who were bullied by some belligerent person demanding payment from them and the people fearing what they’re being told is actually happening. It truly is scary.
We’re using this week’s blog to address a problem that has recently surfaced in the local area that involves our industry. We’ve had two listings lately where we started getting calls from as far away as Vancouver asking about the ad they saw to rent the property. Neither of these houses were listed as a rental – one was never offered for rent and the other already has good tenants in it.
We were sent the listings – one was on Craigslist and one was from the Sudbury Star classifieds. We were also forwarded the email replies and actually tested the contact button ourselves to get these emails. They are unbelievable – literally. They talk about how the “owners” had to move quickly out of the country to help in a mission or church in the U.S. or overseas. Honestly, as I was reading the email, I couldn’t believe people would think this is real.
Then came the “contract” to print off and fill out, which was actually just typed into the body of the email. Anyone who is unaware should know that all lease agreements in Ontario must use the new MANDATORY Standardized Lease Agreement that came into effect in April of 2018. You can see how someone from B.C. may not know this, but everyone should know that “what hobbies do you have?” and “do you drink?” are not common, or legal, questions that a landlord can ask on a lease.
How these “wonderful” people are creating this scam is by scraping our listings off of www.Realtor.ca. They take our MLS™ listings and photos and create an ad they post in the rental section on local classifieds. They add in some extras on the write-up, like saltwater pools and ensuites with steam showers, that makes the rental look too good to be true. Which it is.
In the email reply, they state that you can’t view the property until you get the keys and you have transferred your first and last rents into their account. You can’t call them because their “wife is hard of hearing, so only text or email”.
Honestly, it is scary how many people contacted us assuming this was legitimate. I find it funny how people, like my wife, will take four days of research and reading reviews to purchase $7 golf socks on Amazon™, but people are willing to transfer thousands of dollars to someone they’ve never met for a property they’ve never walked into and assume it’s an above board agreement.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If you see a rental advertised in the classifieds that has watermarked pictures with the Realtor® logo or that say “Sudbury Real Estate Board” on them, it’s probably a scam. If you find a rental but also see it listed on www.Realtor.ca, contact the Realtor® on the listing to see if it’s legitimate. Like in our case, if you see a write-up that talks about a “saltwater pool” on a waterfront property, you should find it strange that the ad doesn’t include pictures of the pool.
These things are annoying but, after the amount of people that contacted us, physically drove by the properties and were ready to send money, it’s actually scary. Make sure to spread the word and look for the call signs that are pointing to “this looks too good to be true”.
I’m sure it wasn’t exclusive to just our listings and we’d be happy for other agents to tell their stories in the comments section on Facebook or at least share this to their profiles so we can put a stop to this. Don’t ever be shy to reach out to us for any questions you may have, be sure to share this blog post widely and definitely don’t be shy to report these situations. You may save someone from a major financial loss and some serious headaches.
We’re always available at firstname.lastname@example.org, continue to check our Caswell Team Blog for more great articles, you can search all the MLS™ listings in Greater Sudbury by clicking here or check out website for great info on buying and selling in Sudbury and surrounding areas.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries. For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at email@example.com.