Warning about Apartment and Parking spot Rental scams in Ottawa

Posted On Thursday October 03, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, October 3, 2019     2:45pm 

(Ottawa)—The Ottawa Police Service Organized Fraud Unit would like to warn the community of two ongoing rental scams that have made several victims in the month of September.

The first one is an Apartment Rental Scam where future tenants view photos of a place they would like to rent via online platforms.  They make contact with the fraudster who tries to gain the victim’s trust while using pressure tactics about other interested tenants and a monthly rent below market value, which adds pressure to sign promptly.

Both enter into a lease negotiation and the fraudster will either require a deposit (half a month to two month rent) by e-transfer.  The victim then attends the location on a set date and time and finds out that the unit is currently rented.  Victims of this scam include international students, out-of-town citizens and Ottawa residents.

The second scam is known as the Rental Parking Scam where fraudsters will respond to a person’s online advertisement looking for parking or offer a parking spot via online platforms.  The price and leasing agreements are negotiated and a deposit is requested via e-transfer to the suspect. 

In some cases, victims only found out about the Parking scam when they started using the parking spot and received a warning from the true parking space owner.  This scam has mainly occurred in the central part of Ottawa.

Ottawa Police is concerned that there are other victims who may have also lost hundreds if not thousands of dollars with these scams. If you have been a victim, please report the incident online

The Organized Fraud Unit would like to remind consumers to be vigilant when purchasing items/services from unknown persons online. More tips are available online.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call Ottawa Police's Organized Fraud Unit at 613-236-1222, ext.5433.  Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or by downloading the Ottawa Police app. 

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