Overseas scammers have targeted desperate house-hunters in Auckland.
A group of Nigerian scammers have fleeced thousands of dollars from would-be tenants by copying genuine rental advertisements from Barfoot & Thompson’s website, posting them on the auction website Gumtree, and asking all inquirers for bond and rent money in advance.
In one case, a potential tenant had to pay up to $2000 for a three-bedroom house in Royal Oak, but when he went to visit the property, the existing tenant said it was already rented.
Director Kiri Barfoot says: “Put simply, the scammers copy our photo and rental property details on to another website, advertise it cheaper than we did – [the Royal Oak] case, $150 a week cheaper, then get naive people paying them cash upfront in their bank account to rent it without even seeing inside it or meeting the scammers face to face.
“You should make sure the money you’re paying is going into a trust account, never pay your money into an account that’s not a New Zealand bank account,” she told the New Zealand Herald.
Ms Barfoot has complained to the website Gumtree, and they have apologised and removed the advertisement.
One of the victims will be laying a complaint.
Photo by Charleston’s TheDigitel