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At Whites Estate Agents in Salisbury yesterday one of our lettings properties was used as bate in a Social Media Scam. The individual (scam artist) in this case posed as the landlord of said property, having stolen several of the images and copy from our website. With the internet these days this is impossible to avoid – as anyone can simply save images or copy content.
According to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme website, they are aware that criminals are placing fake property adverts on property portals, demanding money to be transferred as a deposit in order to secure a property available for rent.
In this case, the property was posted on a popular open Salisbury social media forum “Free Stuff in Salisbury” and interested individuals were asked to contact the lady named Kimberley Ann for more information. With a credible name and fabricated story, the ladies husband lived in Northern Ireland and the woman was currently working in Nigeria. She then asked interested individuals to send across a holding deposit.
At this stage, Whites were notified by a young man who was suspicious and had seen the same house advertised on our Whites website. We tried to find the house on the disclosed portal and the lady but the lady had removed it. We then thought that that that was it – but sadly an hour later – a very frustrated lady who thought she was taking over the tenancy of the property came into the office. She had believed Kimberly Ann and had spoken to her several times on the phone and had signed a contract and in the end, transferred over more than £1,000 to her Nigerian bank account. She had only then come into Whites as she noticed the property was still on our website and she had not received keys to the property. Instead, the woman was continuing to dangle a carrot and push her for additional money.
Our sympathy goes out to this woman, being scammed is such a horrid feeling and it really could happen to anyone. At Whites we ask people to be vigilant and really want to stop this happening to anyone again.
Whites top tips:
1. Never transfer a deposit to an unknown person online
2. Report the issue immediately to the property portal you found the advert on
3. Let the TDS know
4. Report it to Action Fraud
5. Talk to your bank
6. It is always best to rent through a reputable agent like Whites
For more information on properties at Whites please call on us on 01722 336 422.