SINGAPORE: A 32-year old man has been arrested for his suspected involvement in a series of rental scams, said the police on Tuesday (Mar 15).
Between January and March, the police received reports from several victims of rental scams who responded to online advertisements offering rental of residential units.
“After the victims paid the deposit via bank transfer, the man purportedly became uncontactable,” said the police.
The police established the identity of the man and he was arrested on Monday.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that he is believed to be involved in 24 similar cases of rental scams with losses amounting to more than S$54,700,” the police added.
The man will be charged in court on Wednesday with cheating. If found guilty, he could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
The police advised people to deal with an accredited real estate agent or the rightful owner of a unit to avoid falling prey to rental scams.
They should verify the agents' details and contact numbers with the agency. Those who are looking to rent should also ask to visit the unit and verify with the owner if the rental offer exists and is genuine.
Local property agencies have also warned about rental scams, where scammers impersonate property agents and ask for deposits to secure viewings.
Huttons Group said on Monday that these scammers would use fake identity cards from the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA), and then upload fake listings on “alternative platforms”.
When contacted, the scammer would ask for a deposit to secure a property viewing. But after receiving the deposit, the scammer would become uncontactable, said Huttons.