A spate of Sunshine Coast rental scams that have
emerged this past week highlight the ever-constant threat of cybercrime.
Code Property Group has reported a string of cases
where hackers pose as real estate agents to collect bond payments from tenants
in an emotionally fragile state as they hunt a property within Queensland's incredibly tight rental market.
The scheme sees hackers pretend to be local real
estate agents, weaving an intricate web of lies to gain trust and ultimately
financial remuneration by deceiving potential tenants to part way with bond
money for a property they will never reside in.
They are initiated by tenants being contacted via email
asking if they are in a property that the scammer is "renting out”. From the
initial contact, and dependent on the tenant’s reply, the hacker will
investigate the areas the victim is interested in moving to, before utilising a
simple Google search to bring up properties and the respective agents in these
desired areas, which becomes the foundation of the scam.
As part of the scam, the tenant receives
communication from a "trusted” real estate agent who even sends through fake
rental contracts — with the company logo — which boosts the credibility of the
As part of developing defences against such scams,
Code Property Group has provided its top tips for cyber safety and rental property
applications, which are:
- Always check that communication coming from an
agent’s email address correctly matches their name and website listing.
- Never transfer money into an unfamiliar bank
account — real estate agencies often have a trust account that includes
the agency name, not an individual person’s account.
- Agents often call successful applicants to
congratulate them and clarify details; wait for this verbal agreement for
a tenancy agreement.
- Contact agents directly if you are interested
in a property. Most agents have their phone numbers and email displayed
next to their listed property.
Scams cost Australians over $300 million in 2021, which looks likely to increase with the
first quarter of 2022 resulting in Australians losing $72 million to scams, a
$10 million rise from the same period last year.
Code Property Group concluded that it is paramount
that applicants hunting tenancies remain vigilant when disclosing their
personal information online, with victims encouraged to report their crime via
Also look at reports of scams in Western Australia,
you can read more here: Scammers
pirating legitimate rental home ads for fraudulent listings.
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Wednesday, 14 September 2022