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Would-be tenant scammed $2,250 for fictitious suite in Oak Bay

Rental scam among reports of theft, crime in Oak Bay last week

A would-be tenant from Oak Bay reported that he was scammed $2,250 last week for a rental suite that was allegedly available.

The victim said the landlord was a male who claimed that he owned a suite here, but resided in Spain. The victim wired the money and was promised that a key would be mailed to them. Later, the victim attended the alleged suite but was informed by its occupants that the suite was not for rent. The actual homeowners resided on the main floor of the residence.

It’s not the first rental scam reported to Oak Bay Police, who list some red-flags for prospective tenants seeking a place.

In this case, it is often a scam when the owner claims they are “out of town,” and you cannot see the unit in person before sending money, said Oak Bay Police Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.

READ ALSO: Tree prevents a suspected drug-impaired driver from ending up in ocean off Beach Drive

Also be sure to visit the building to see if there is a for-sale sign in the yard. In many cases, rent is also advertised below market rates.

Alleged owners or property managers will often ask for money transferred through Western Union, MoneyGram, or a gift card.

“No legitimate business gets paid this way,” Bernoties said. “Those looking for a rental [suite] should first conduct an internet search.”

It is possible to do reverse image searches by posting the photo into Google image search or Tineye.com to check for multiple listings.

“Also search by using an interesting phrase in the description,” Bernoties said. “And search for the address of the unit.”

Don’t be shy, be sure. Bernoties suggests asking the landlord or homeowner for identification to make sure you are dealing with the real property owner or manager.

READ MORE: Oak Bay man refuses to stop drinking beer, gets $230 ticket

Oak Bay Police also fielded reports of a stolen bike, stolen outboard motor and yet another impaired driver crashing their car in Oak Bay during the week of Jan. 27 to Feb. 2.

The stolen outboard motor was reported Jan. 27. A chain lock was broken to access the 1992 Johnson motor, valued at approximately $2,000, which was on a boat anchored off the 3200 block of Beach Drive.

A bike was reported stolen from Oak Bay High on Thursday. It’s described as a Krossport CCM men’s bicycle, a blue-black hybrid, with front and rear fenders and valued at $400.

And, for the second straight week, Oak Bay Police attended the scene of an impaired driver who crashed their car. This time it was at the corner of Foul Bay Road and Leighton Avenue. A woman admitted to drinking liquor but also refused to provide a breath sample. She received an immediate 90-day driving prohibition and her vehicle was impounded for 30 days.

On Saturday, Oak Bay Police attended a residence regarding a 14-year-old who was breaching his conditional sentence order. The young offender was released after a tele-bail conference.

“Sadly, the young male is a prolific offender. He was released on strict court-imposed conditions,” Bernoties said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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