Following yesterday’s report on fraudulent listings on classifieds websites, another property manager has exposed a similar story.
Ashley Vella, property manager at Melbourne Property Solutions, told Residential Property Manager she had discovered last week that one of her properties had been fraudulently listed on flatmates.com.au.
“The property had been leased about two weeks ago, but a week ago, I had my tenants contact me saying people were knocking on their door asking to come in and inspect the property, and he was telling them to go away and that the property had been leased,” Ms Vella said.
“Then I had an email from a gentleman that said 'I think your property is being used in a scam'. We’ve had people email us before about things like this, so I just disregarded it. Then I had a lady contact us on Monday and she said that she had received an email from a gentleman.
“He had written a lease with his name and her name and our property address with the photos we had uploaded on the website, and he said he needed payment from her into his bank account.”
The scammer, who was based in Texas, promised the prospective tenant that he would post her the keys once he had the bond.
As well as producing an Australian passport, the scammer had managed to obtain a copy of the property’s title, which had been changed to his name.
The prospective tenant got in touch with Ms Vella after Google searching the property to see if it had been listed elsewhere.
When Ms Vella went to view the listing on flatmates.com.au, the property had already been removed.
She said this was the first time she had become aware of an online listings scam.
“It’s quite scary that this can happen,” she said. “We’ve contacted the police and asked them what can be done and my directors are looking into what we can do.”