Graaff-Reinet Advertiser

Fake agents use stolen IDs to scam tenants


National estate agency group RealNet has become aware that fraudsters have stolen the identities of several legitimate agents in the group, and have been using these to try to scam prospectiv­e tenants and landlords in certain areas out of deposits and so-called administra­tion fees.

"We have of course taken immediate official action to try to curtail this activity," says group MD Gerhard Kotzé, "but we are also warning clients at this stage to please carefully check the credential­s of anyone claiming to be a RealNet rental agent.

"The easiest way to do this is to ensure that the agent's email address ends in, and no other format. Clients are also welcome to check the name against the agent database on our website at agents/, or to call the RealNet head office on 0860 460 460."

Two other clues indicating that a rental listing might not be legitimate, he says, are when the stated monthly rental is unusually low for the area, and when the property is not being advertised on well-known property websites or in the classified sections of well-known publicatio­ns.

"Consumers who would like to establish whether an agent is indeed legitimate or not, are of course also always entitled to ask to see a valid and current fidelity fund certificat­e from the Property Practition­ers Regulatory Authority."

Kotzé notes that the agents whose identities have been stolen have opened cases with the police, that bank accounts being used by scammers have been reported to the fraud divisions of the relevant banks and that various fake internet profiles have been blocked and removed.

"In addition, the RealNet group has retained the services of a private forensic investigat­or who has been successful in tracking the swindlers and is currently working with the police case officer to effect arrests and ensure conviction­s.

“We are aware that the fraudsters have been active in Bloemfonte­in, Durban, Durbanvill­e, Johannesbu­rg and Rustenburg, but there may be other areas involved, and we are doing everything we can to protect our valued customers as well as our reputation.

“This is why we have decided to make this informatio­n public as soon as possible," Kotzé says.

Carefully check the credential­s of anyone claiming to be a RealNet rental agent.

 ?? Www.erasmuslif­ ??

Newspapers in Afrikaans

Newspapers from South Africa