(Black Press Media file photo)

RCMP investigate scam after Colwood home rented twice by non-owner

Potential renters handed over deposits only to meet real owners upon attempting to move in

The West Shore RCMP are investigating two reports of a rental scam in Colwood.

Police are looking into two separate reports relating to a residence on the 2800 block of Pickford Road.

In both cases, police said a man who posed as the owner of the home spoke with the victims. The man collected a cash deposit from them and agreed to rent his residence to the victims.

When the victims showed up to move in, police said they were met by the real owner of the home who said it was not for rent and that they had been scammed.

READ ALSO: ‘I felt stupid:’ Langford woman caught up in VRBO rental scam

“Police are still investigating these reports but have learned that at one point in time the suspect rented a room at the very same property and therefore had knowledge of the home,” said Const. Nancy Saggar with the West Shore RCMP.

Saggar said the suspect has been using the alias of Jason Leblanc and that police are asking “for anyone who may have been defrauded in a similar manner by someone using the alias of Jason Leblanc to please come forward and speak with investigators as we are continuing to collect evidence.”

Some tips from RCMP to keep safe from rental fraud are:

– Use a reputable renting website or go to the property management office itself

– Do an internet search on the address and see if anything suspicious pops up

– If the rental price is too good to be true, it’s likely a fraud

– Don’t make a deposit in cash, cash is not traceable

– Don’t wire money, wire transfers are extremely hard to cancel and trace

– Don’t give out personal information like your Social Insurance Number, bank account or credit card

– Make sure you are speaking with the landowner or property manager

– Ask the surrounding neighbours about the landowner and property history (neighbours should be able to tell you who lives next door and if they are the owner or not)

Anyone with information regarding the investigations is asked to call West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

READ ALSO: Sooke woman caught up in Craigslist rental scam


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