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Man, 32, to be charged over alleged role in 24 rental scam cases with S$55,000 in losses

SINGAPORE — A 32-year-old man will be charged on Wednesday (March 16) with cheating for his alleged involvement in a series of rental scams where victims lost some S$55,000.

Man, 32, to be charged over alleged role in 24 rental scam cases with S$55,000 in losses
The police said that they had received reports from several victims of rental scams between January and March in 2022.

SINGAPORE — A 32-year-old man will be charged on Wednesday (March 16) with cheating for his alleged involvement in a series of rental scams where victims lost some S$55,000.

In a news release on Tuesday, the police said that they had received reports from several victims of rental scams between January and March this year.

The victims had responded to online advertisements offering apartments for rent.

After they paid the deposit for the rent via bank transfer, the man seemingly could not be reached, the police said.

Officers from the Woodlands Police Division established the identity of the man through follow-up investigations and arrested him on Monday.

He is believed to be involved in 24 similar cases of rental scams with losses amounting to more than S$54,700, preliminary investigations showed.

If found guilty for the offence of cheating, the man may be jailed a maximum of 10 years and fined.

The police advised members of the public to adopt some measures to avoid falling prey to rental scams.

These include ensuring that the person they deal with is the rightful owner of the residential unit or an accredited real estate agent.

They should also visit the unit and verify with the owner whether the rental offer exists and is genuine.

Earlier on Monday, real estate agency Huttons Group warned that a “new type of property scam” has surfaced.

In an advisory, the firm said that scammers have impersonated a few real estate salespersons, who then ask for deposits to be transferred to secure viewings.

Huttons Group said that the scammers would publish fake listings on alternative online sites and photoshop fake Council for Estate Agencies identity cards.

“When contacted by a prospective tenant, the scammer would ask for a deposit even before any viewing was conducted. Upon receipt of the transfer, the scammer would then be uncontactable.

“In another situation, the scammer even sent a tenancy agreement for signature and asked for deposits to ‘secure the unit first’. Once transfers are made, the possibility of recovery is very low. As such, consumers remain the first line of defence against such scams,” Huttons Group warned on Monday.

TODAY understands the scams that Huttons Group warned about is not related to the latest case disclosed by the police.

Anyone with information on scams may call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Related topics

crime court cheating Scam rental scam property Huttons

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