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Students Beware, Bogus Landlords on the Prowl

As per a report from BBC, Scotland Yard have unveiled a cyber scam in which fraudsters pretending to be residential landlords are placing ads on free classified websites to promote deceptive or non-existent lease properties. The scam, according to the reports, targets college students as the academic session is about to begin.

Alerting the students' community, Police said that the scammers were trying to dupe scholars/students so that they reveal their band information or pay huge deposits for obtaining properties, which don't really exist.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police, which reviewed reports on cyber crime compiled recently, discovered that nearly one-third of the crimes involved the ruse of fake rental properties.

Chris Felton, a detective sergeant for the Fraud Prevention of Met Police, said that the advertisements had no phone number and they (advertisers) gave merely a freely available e-mail ID like Google-mail or Hotmail, as reported by Telegraph on September 5, 2009.

Felton cautioned that if anyone was asked to pay cash up front, even in the absence of strong evidence of the estate's existence, then he should be extremely careful. Felton further adds that he should think a few times, enquire from some friends, seek certain advice and in case he was eventually not satisfied, then he mustn't dispatch the sum.

Typically, the online scam relates to bargain properties advertised on free ad websites. The landlord tells the victim that he could see the property only if he provided his bank account information, a ruse that could allow the fraudsters to steal the victim's money.

A Canadian student narrated the story how he lost £1,000 following the transmission of fund to a supposed third-party account for acquiring a London estate. When he reached London, he found that the property wasn't there and he couldn't even find its owner.

Meanwhile, NUS (National Union of Students) has come to know of several incidences since the scam spread across the UK. The union therefore advises students looking for a rented residence to take the guidance of their universities and not hurry into deals.

Related article: Storm Worm Returns with Follow-Up Attack

» SPAMfighter News - 29-09-2009

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