The Windsor police financial crimes unit is asking residents to be on the lookout for the ongoing “rental scam.”

Investigators have recently come across a number of complaints from local victims who indeed forwarded funds to an offender.

In one case, police say the victim paid $1,700 for security and a down payment. In another case, a victim said they paid $500 as a security deposit.

Const. Andrew Drouillard says this scam starts with an offender advertising a property for rent, usually over the internet. Sometimes, he says, the offender poses as a landlord and will respond over the internet to someone searching to rent an apartment.

Drouillard also notes there are few red flags to look out for. He says the offender will inform a prospective customer that they are out of the country and not available to meet in person. They will also pressure the potential victims to provide funds or personal banking information immediately.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Drouillard says.

Protect Yourself and Do Some Research

Here are some helpful tips from the fraud squad to protect yourself.

-Contact the landlord directly and arrange to see the apartment in person.
-Request to see a lease/contract and review it thoroughly.
-Conduct an online search to see if it was previously for sale or for rent.  Scammers have been known to use previous ads, so this research helps to ensure it's not a duplicate post.  If you find another post, contact the landlord or agent to confirm your information. 
-Don't send money to strangers.  Money transfers are very popular with online scams because they are difficult to trace and can instantly end up anywhere in the world.
-Contact Equifax and Transunion if you've provided personal information.

For more information on the rental scam visit the website for the Canadian Fraud Centre:

If you suspect that you were target of fraud and you would like to report the incident follow the link below for more information:

If you did fall victim to the scam, don't be embarrassed and call the police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Windsor police at 519-255-6700 ext. 4330, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS) or online at