There’s yet another nasty rental scam on Gumtree, targeting would-be tenants looking for places to rent.
The way it works is that unsuspecting potential tenants, usually from overseas, reply to advertisements on the website. After supposed satisfactory emails, tenants are asked to send money to the ‘landlord’. They then send the money but when they try to make contact with the ‘landlord’ or even collect the keys to the property, the ‘landlord’ is uncontactable and the potential tenant has been defrauded.
In this latest scam, the ‘landlord’ claims to be a member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), uses the NLA logo and has created fake stationary copying the NLA Tenant Check service.
Richard Price, Director of Operations, NLA, commenting on the new scam, says “tenants, no matter where they are from, should not send payment to advertisers before they are certain that the advertiser is genuine. Overseas applicants needing to secure accommodation before they arrive in the UK would be well advised to first seek the help of the employer or university they are coming to. They will be knowledgeable of standard practices in the UK and often have lists of accredited landlords and local letting agents.”
If anyone wants to check whether a prospective landlord is a member of the National Landlords Association go to Goodlandlord.org.uk
Let’s also hope that Gumtree.com will put a lot more warnings on all the property pages of their site. Foreign visitors particularly need to be protected.