Mayfair Town & Country are today warning about an increasing type of fraud which is targeting tenants of private landlords.
‘Fraudsters’ are posing as landlords on social media on local ‘Buy and Sell’ groups offering properties, that are currently on the market with high street letting agents, for let at reduced rates.
Mayfair were alerted to the fraudulent advert posted on Facebook this week after a member of the public contacted their Worle office. The individual was enquiring about the property after historic Mayfair-branded sales particulars were provided by the advertiser upon the request of further details.
Photos listed on the advert had been extracted from our website, and the advertiser was offering a reduced monthly rental rate and requesting a deposit upfront whilst claiming to be the legal owner. Their communication explained that they lived a distance from the property and that they would post keys to the tenant once their deposit had been received in full. Mayfair Town & Country staff have engaged with their client affected, who is currently marketing this property for let via the Mayfair Worle office, who has no knowledge of this person nor have they instructed anyone else to market their property.
A representative from Mayfair Town & Country has since contacted a number of people on Facebook who had publically responded to the advert and there has been no confirmation that anyone has paid any money to this individual at this time.
Mayfair have, however, received information to show that more than one agent in Weston-super-Mare has been targeted in the same way by an individual with a different name. It is unsure if this is one individual or a group in operation. Mayfair have contacted local and national media to raise awareness of this type of activity that is currently in operation and to warn tenants to be vigilant, particularly on social media.
David Powell, Operations Director at Mayfair Town & Country, says: “As much as we understand that tenants approach landlords directly to avoid associated agency fees, we advise them to tread carefully. Unfortunately we are unable to control the use of photos and information which is publicly available on our website, which makes this type of crime worryingly easy if targeting vulnerable tenants. A benefit of going through an agent when renting is that tenants are provided with an element of protection, which means their deposit is protected and scenarios like this can be avoided. Our advice would be to be vigilant, and to contact your local agent for advice if you have any concerns. We have a member of ARLA in all of our lettings offices who will be happy to help with any queries.”