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Cape Breton realtor warns of rental scam


A Cape Breton realtor is warning the public of a new rental scam targeting people desperate for lodgings.

Debbie Campbell said her husband received a call this week for from a woman asking if one of their listings was still available for rent.

“My husband and I we have a property co-listed together and it’s over in Glace Bay, so (Tuesday) evening my husband got a phone call from a lady because I guess she must have driven by the address and seen our real estate listing on the lawn.”

Campbell said the woman was asking about renting the property, which is currently up for sale.

Debbie Campbell
Debbie Campbell

The caller then mentioned that the house was advertised online for what would be considered a below average rental price for its size and condition.

The caller said that person running the advertisement was seeking a deposit.

“Well, we know that’s a scam right away right,” said Campbell, who currently works as an associate for Royal LePage Anchor Realty. “People are copying photos and posting the property as a rental and they want you to e-transfer money to hold it.”

Campbell said this is not the first time she’s heard of such scheme. She said international students could be particularly susceptible to such offers as they might be unfamiliar with rental rates prior to their arrival in Cape Breton.

Last summer, one of Campbell's clients actually had a renter show up at her Sydney River home expected to take a walk through of the property.

"It’s happening more and more," said Campbell. "I want people to be aware that it is happening and hopefully nobody will get scammed by it.”

A realtor of 23 years, Campbell said that she decided to speak out about the incident knowing there are many people looking for housing within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

“With the demand around here for rentals people are desperate,” she said. “They see this nice home — both homes were newer homes — nice units — that would be very appealing to somebody looking for a place.”

In the past, Campbell said she’s received calls from frantic students wondering if sellers might consider renting their homes as they were unable to finding lodgings.

Campbell is offering some advice for anyone who might be concerned about whether a property rental is legitimate. She said renters should first try typing the address onto an online search engine. In most cases, houses listed for sale will appear in local real estate listings.


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