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£22k Lost To Facebook Rental Scams

Some islanders have lost all their savings, and one family has been left homeless, to property scams.

Jersey Police say fake rentals are being advertised on local Facebook selling pages,  targeting people desperate for accommodation.

Officers are investigating 26 cases of people being duped into paying a deposit to secure a home that doesn't exist.

Collectively, the victims have lost £22,000 to false Facebook profiles.

Police say people are being enticed by lower than average rents.

When they message the advertiser, they're are being told they need to pay a deposit to secure the property.

"The scammer will say there is a lot of interest in the advertised property and the interested party must pay the deposit before they can view the property to secure it.

This deposit can often be a month’s rent. After the transfer of funds has taken place, the scammer just disappears and cannot be contacted." - States of Jersey Police.

Officers believe many of the incidents are being carried out by the same person.

Investigating officer Faith Shalamon says it's caused great distress to several islanders:

“Some of these victims have lost all their savings, and one family were made homeless by giving notice on their home, believing they were moving into the new rental property. The emotional impact on the people caught up in this scam has been very traumatic for them.

Anyone interested in moving into a property should never part with any money until they have seen any advertised property in person and met with the landlord or estate agent.”

Some safety tips to keep yourself safe from rental scams are:

1. Never hand over cash without viewing a property in person

2. Always meet the landlord or agent in person

3. Check out any agent’s credentials

4. Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics

5. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Anyone who thinks they may be a victim of a rental/property scam should report it to police on 01534 612612

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