Renters are being warned to be on their guard as Police in London issue details of a property marketing fraud that saw 10 different tenants stung for deposits on a Spitalfields flat.
The prospective renters were allegedly hooked by conmen after answering an advert for a flat to rent on popular advertising site Gumtree. On arrival at the property, say police, the house hunters were met by men posing as property marketing professionals who told them that the property had, in fact, already been let and asked if they would like to view a similar rental nearby that was still available.
Prospective Tenants Conned
The ten would-be tenants involved all agreed to rent the second flat and were asked to attend an appointment at a fake property marketing office in the City of London, where each handed over a cash deposit in excess of £2,000, signed renal contracts and agreed to collect the keys to the property at a later date.
However, each was stunned when they arrived at the same offices on the pre-arranged day to discover nine others also expecting to collect the keys to the property in question, and no sign of the supposed letting agents.
Police Urge Househunters to Exercise Caution
Police are now looking for the two men involved, who called themselves Tawfikur Rahman and Shofiqul Islam but are believed to have been using aliases. Detective Sargeant Mark Simmons of the City of London police told the London Evening Standard: “Clearly this fraud has left victims significantly out of pocket. Our concern is that these criminals could strike again in another part of London. We would remind the public to be on their guard.”