- Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true. Spend time finding out how much other rental properties in the area cost before signing a lease.
- Search online for similar properties. If you find the same ad listed in other cities, that’s a huge red flag.
- See the property in person. Don’t send money to anyone for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit, ask a friend that it is what was advertised.
- Never pay with cash, wire transfer or hard-to-trace equivalents such as Moneygram or Bitcoin. These forms of payment can’t be tracked. Use bank cheques or money orders, or email money transfers. Always ask for a rent receipt once payment is made.
- Don’t provide confidential info that can be used for identity theft. A landlord can check your credit history with just your full name, current address and birth date. Don’t give your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or bank information.
- A written lease helps prevent fraud and lays out the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Landlords are legally required to use the provincial standard lease form. Make sure all extra amenities are listed in the lease.
- Ensure you are dealing with an authorized representative. The written lease is also required to include the names and contact information of the landlord (owner or management company). Ensure that it indicates the person you are dealing with. Ask them to show a picture ID as proof that they are who is named in the document if you have any doubt.
- Ask for a second opinion. Don’t be embarrassed to consult with friends, family members or your local BBB, who may be more knowledgeable on the subject if there are doubts or questions.
If you encounter a rental scam, be sure to report it to: Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker at BBB.org/scamtracker. or Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or call 1-888-495-8501