Burnaby warning as man sees unit he bought offered for rent

A Burnaby resident is warning people that the place they see for rent online may not be real.

The resident told the NOW that he recently purchased an apartment in the Brentwood neighborhood.

After the deal was made, he discovered that the same unit was being offered for rent on multiple rental websites for $1,900 per month.

The man has since posted on those sites to let people know that the one bedroom unit is not for rent.

Police departments said the COVID-19 pandemic has led to people being scammed because they complete transactions remotely to avoid face-to-face meetings. This, combined with a shortage of available rentals, has led to people agreeing to rent accommodation and posting a deposit before seeing it in person.

“People are desperate,” said the resident issuing the warning.

“You believe the landlord or landlord is showing you the property you want to rent,” the Vancouver Police Department says. “Or maybe you live somewhere else and can’t see the property in person until you agree to rent it. You pay a deposit, but when you show up to move in, the property has never been available at the rental and you no longer have your deposit.If the price is too good to be true, or if they only ask for cash, cash deposit, or money to wire, it should be a warning sign.


  • don’t send money to anyone you haven’t met in person and/or for goods you haven’t seen in person
  • ask for ID from anyone showing you the property and write down their license plate if they are arriving by car
  • look up owner information at the land titles office to confirm you are dealing with the owner

Aside from the pandemic, the loss of money, personal information, and perseverance of scammers continues with online shopping scams like riskiest scams.

The BBB recommends adding a few precautionary measures to the list of New Year’s resolutions, with the weightloss and financial goals, to help make the days and months ahead fraud-free.

  • I decide to be careful with emails. Mistrust unsolicited emails from a person or company. Remember that scammers can make emails look like they are from a legitimate business, government agency, or reputable organization (even BBB!). Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • I resolve never to send money to strangers. If you haven’t met a person in person, don’t send them money. This is especially true if the person asks you to transfer funds using a prepaid debit card or Ddigital wallet. Money sent to strangers this way is untraceable and once sent cannot be retrieved. Scammers will try to make you panic – so before you move, think carefully about the situation.
  • I decide to do research before making online payments and purchases. When online shopping, or if prompted to make an online payment, research the retailer before entering payment information. Ask: Is this a person or company that I know and trust? Do they have a working customer service number? Where is the company physically located? Would I make payments through a secure server (https://….com)? Have I checked to see if others have complained? Remember that online shopping scams can take many different forms, be sure to read the BBBs 2021 Online Shopping Scam Report to prepare you.
  • I agree to use my best judgment when sharing my personal information. Sharing sensitive personal information with scammers opens the door to identity theft. Never share financial information, date of birth, address, social insurance number or health card number with an unsolicited caller. To learn more, read the BBB advice on how to spot and avoid identity theft.
  • I decide to be smart on social media. Online shopping scams are flourishing on social media during the pandemic. Use privacy settings on social media and only connect with people you actually know. Be careful when including personal information in your profile and never reveal address and other sensitive information – even in a “fun” quiz. Scammers can use this information to impersonate a friend or relative and gain your trust. As well, think twice before buying products you have seen on social networks. BBB Scam Tracker has received thousands of complaints about misleading ads on Facebook and Instagram.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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