Fraud alert as reports emerge about Chesterfield people being targeted

Action Fraud is warning people about rental fraud.

Wednesday, 9th May 2018, 9:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th May 2018, 10:01 am
Rental fraud is a type of advance fee fraud.

The Derbyshire Times is currently looking into reports that a number of people in Chesterfield have lost hundreds of pounds through this type of crime.

An Action Fraud spokesman said: "Rental fraud happens when would-be tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property.

"In reality, the property does not exist, has already been rented out or has been rented to multiple victims at the same time.

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"The victim loses the upfront fee they have paid and is not able to rent the property they thought they had secured with the payment."

Protect yourself from rental fraud

► Do not send money to anyone advertising rental properties online until you are certain the advertiser is genuine;

► Do not pay any money until you or a reliable contact has visited the property with an agent or the landlord;

► Ask for copies of tenancy agreements and any safety certificates such as Gas Electricity or HMO Licence;

► Do not be pressurised into transferring large sums of money. Transfer funds to a bank account having obtained the details by contacting the landlord or agent directly after the above steps have been followed. Be sceptical if you're asked to transfer any money via a money transfer service like Western Union;

► If you need to secure accommodation in the UK from overseas, seek the help of the employer or university you are coming to or get a friend, contact or relative to check the property exists and is available.