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Stay Safe, Secure and Skeptical: Fleming College and Peterborough Police Encourage Students to Protect Themselves from Rental Scams


Peterborough, ON (Aug. 24, 2023) – Rental scams are an unfortunate reality when it comes to apartment hunting-especially if you’re searching for a space online.

Fleming College has partnered with the Peterborough Police Service to ensure that students take a proactive and safe approach when they’re trying to find their new home away from home.

Detective Constable Ryan Black, a member of the Peterborough Police Service’s Fraud Unit, said tenants always need to be skeptical of any apartment that is priced far below market value.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Black said.

Pricing apartments or rooms at a much lower rate than similar spaces is often a ploy that fraudsters use to get students to put up a deposit quickly and with few questions, Black said, because those tenants are afraid they’ll miss out on a good deal.

Tenants should also make sure they get a good look inside the unit or room-and Black said warning bells should go off if the landlord won’t let you in the building or see the room you will be renting.
Students should be suspicious if they’re asked to pay for a space with Bitcoin, Crypto currency or gift cards, Black said. The officer also cautioned that it’s highly unusual for landlords to ask prospective tenants to pay anything before a rental agreement has been reached.

“Landlords generally don’t ask you to pay large, upfront fees when you’re putting in an application,” Black said.

There are a few more steps students can take to help keep themselves safe from fraud, even if they are unable to travel to their campus community before school begins.

Black suggested doing a simple Google search of the landlord or the property and check for any online history.

You can ask a friend or relative in that campus community to check a space on your behalf, Black said, and networking and asking others who have lived in that community for some suggestions is helpful.
Students can also work with Fleming College’s Off Campus Housing office and Places4Students to help them conduct their search safely.
If you suspect you have fallen victim to a rental scam, contact police immediately.

“The sooner the police are made aware of the potential fraud, the greater the likelihood police are able to identify a suspect and recover funds related to the fraud,” Black said.

Join Black and Ken Downing, a Detective Constable with the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service’s Criminal Investigations Branch for a virtual seminar about rental scams and fraud awareness Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. Visit here for more information.

Detective Constable Ryan Black with the Peterborough Police Service shares a few tips on how to avoid rental scams during your search for a rental unit.

The Peterborough Police Service can be reached at 705-876-1122.

The City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service can be reached at 705-324-5252.

For more information on frauds and scams please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.