Though most people want to help you find your next home, there will always be a small number of fraudsters out there who want to try and trick you into giving up some of your personal details or parting with money.
Here are some of the most common ways that fraudsters may try and trick you.
Being asked for payment before viewing a rental property
You should never be asked by an estate agent or landlord to pay any money before you visit a property.
If you are ever in touch with anyone about a rental property and they ask you to pay or transfer any money to secure the property before you go and see it, you should not do so.
In some other types of these scams, the fraudster often offers a property that looks amazing and is well below what you would normally pay for a similar property in that area.
They may try and trick you into giving them money by setting up a fake page of another well-known property or lettings website. In some cases, these pages could have a padlock in the top left of the page, so they could look convincing. They may even set up a fake instant chat with you on one of these fake web pages.A common method of payment used by scammers is to ask you to transfer money using a code they send you for a Bitcoin wallet. You should never agree to send money in this way.
People misrepresenting or pretending to be Property Africa or its approved partners
Fraudsters may try to use the Property Africa name on other websites or by getting in contact with you to try and make you think that they work for Property Africa.
Below is representative of a potential scam:
A home-hunter finds a property listed on another website claiming to have a property available say to rent or sell immediately because the owner has had to move overseas. The property is priced significantly below market value in order to secure suitable tenants or buyers quickly (looks too good to be true).
A home-hunter is then invited to make an email enquiry about the apartment, after which they receive a reply on that directs them to click on a link to a web page mimicking Property Africa, where they may have set up a verification service. The email sender may also claim that they have been ‘approved’ as a vendor by Property Africa.
Phishing is when a potential fraudster sends an email to you to try and trick you into giving up some personal details. They may pretend to have a property for sale or rent and they might email you after you have enquired about a property on another website. They could even use technology to make it appear like the email is coming from Property Africa or her approved partners.
A common phishing email may ask you to click on a link that takes you through to a fake webpage to fill in some personal details. One way to check if the website is genuine is to look in the top left corner of your browser.
Does Property Africa offer a verification service?
We are rolling out a new service for Agents that lets us create a ‘Property Africa Trusted Agent’ or PAT Agent status. It will be an additional level of comfort we want to offer our users. This will have many features including a badge attached to the advert of any Agent. Plus, such an agent will in turn be validated through our collaboration with the relevant industry regulators.
Adapted from www.Rightmove.co.uk