Police In LaSalle Warn Of Rental Scam

Wednesday March 9th, 2016

Posted at 11:37am

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Police in LaSalle are sending out a warning of yet another scam making the rounds.

They say that last week, a local woman seeking a rental house for her elderly parents posted an advertisement on Kijiji.

A few days later she received an email from a person named Sam Smith with the email [email protected] In the email, Sam indicated he had a house for rent in Essex.

Police say that the email itself consisted of one long run-on sentence, with poor English and numerous grammatical errors. It also included the specifications of the house, several photos, and an address.

In the email they say that Sam made up a story about his wife having been in an serious accident, and she was receiving care at the National Surgical Healthcare in the Northwest Territories.   He claimed he was unlikely to return anytime soon and hence his house was for rent.

Sam emailed his phone number, 289-769-2237, and asked the woman to call him, which she did. Sam advised that he would need a deposit, would prefer an E-transfer and that he would ship the keys to her address.

Sam emailed her a rental agreement. Sam had a few conversations with the woman and was trying to pressure her into sending the deposit money.

The woman did not quite buy the story and her suspicions became stronger when Sam even offered to lower the deposit, but insisted that she send the money as soon as possible.

The woman and her husband drove up to the address in Essex and discovered that the house in fact was an apartment building.

After knocking on a few doors and confirming that Sam Smith was not the owner of the building, the woman called Sam Smith and told him that she was onto his scam and she would be notifying police right away.

The officer taking the report tried calling Sam, but there was no answer.

With cottage and cabin rental season upon us, police urge everyone to be extra diligent about who you deal with. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.

Police say the crooks have learned to spoof local numbers, so don’t be misled by believing that it is a local person who is posting a property for rent. Do not wire transfer money unless you know the person at the other end and/or have dealt with them in the past.

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