Watch out for EMAIL SCAMS!

(updated September 2010)

For several years now, landlords across North America have been the target of scammers. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to stop these people, so the best defence is to educate and make people aware of the tactics they use.

Please watch for the following:

You may receive an email or phone call from someone overseas, saying they or their son/ daughter will be attending McMaster University. The stories vary somewhat each time, but some of the recurring tell-tale signs are:

  • The email is in very poorly written English
  • They go into a lot of detail, often releasing information of a personal nature (ie. I am a very nice girl; I do not drink or smoke; I do not have boyfriends; etc.)
  • They will ask for more specifics and photos, even though you already have photos with your ad

If you respond, the emails will continue back and forth until they send you a (counterfeit) international money order or cashier's cheque for an amount in excess of your rental amount. In turn, they will ask you to send them back the difference by wire transfer (usually Western Union). By the time your Canadian bank figures out the money order is fake (typically about 3 weeks), they're hoping you will have already wired them the money back. DONT' BE FOOLED.

Unfortunately, you may receive legitimate enquiries from international students. Be cautious in your dealings; NEVER send any of your good money to them; tell them you'll settle up with them when they arrive here in Canada. Or, at the very least, wait a month or so to be sure the cheque clears at your bank. If you suspect you have been the target of such a scam, please Phone Busters to report the incident: 1 (888) 495-8501 or by email at info@antifraudcentre.ca.