Windsor police are reminding the public to be vigilant regarding a property rental scam.

With back to school almost here, Financial Crimes Unit officers want to reminding the community about the fraudulent scheme.  

Investigators have recently received a number of complaints, indicating that the scam is again active in our community. In some cases the victims forwarded funds to the offender.  

Police say there have been four cases during the last two months where the victims paid between $1,000 to $1,800 as security deposit or down payment to the fraudster.   

In a scam of this nature, the offender advertises a property for rent, usually over the internet. Sometimes the offender will respond over the internet to someone searching to rent an apartment.

The offenders are posing as landlords, but in actuality have no legitimate connection to the subject property.

The offender often times will inform a prospective customer that they are out of the country and not available to meet in person.

There is usually a time sensitive component as well, pressuring the customer to provide funds or personal banking information immediately. It is not uncommon for scammers to identify properties that are for sale and in some cases vacant. 

Neighbours should be vigilant as well should traffic pick up around these properties.

Police would like to remind tenants seeking rental property to do some research and recognize the warning signs before sending money or personal information to someone you have not met.  

Protect Yourself and Do Some Research:

-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: