Victoria Police are looking for more potential victims after they say they caught two rental fraudsters who bilked at least 10 victims out of thousands of dollars.

Police say they were recently alerted to a series of “sophisticated” scams, with victims reporting similarities to the descriptions and methods of the suspects.

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The Better Business Bureau says millions are falling victim to online rental scams.

Investigators say the suspects posted ads online, then communicated with the victims via email and text for weeks to months — after which they “brazenly” met the victims, asking for their references. And handed out fake key fobs.

Victims, believing they were entering into valid tenancy agreements, paid their first month’s rent and damage deposit before realizing they had been defrauded.

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An alert property manager pulled a sting on the suspect.

Police got a break in the case in early September, when one of the suspects met with a victim to show them a suite in a building he claimed he had rented.

The victim transferred money to the suspect, but he became suspicious and contacted the building manager who told him the unit was not actually for rent.

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The property manager then found the fake rental listing and contacted the imposter claiming to be a tenant who wanted to see the unit.

When they arrived to view the unit, he confronted the suspect and recorded the encounter. He also put the suspect on speakerphone with the victim, where the suspect promised to return the money he took — but police say he never followed through.

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Click to play video: 'Ask an Expert: Online Rental Scams'



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Ask an Expert: Online Rental Scams


Ask an Expert: Online Rental Scams – Aug 7, 2022

On September 2, police searched a unit in the building and arrested one of two suspects in the case. Investigators say they also found evidence of another fraud in the same building, which they disrupted.

Just two weeks later, the victim of one of the previous frauds saw the man who allegedly defrauded him in downtown Victoria and called the police who attended and arrested him.

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Police later discovered he was already facing 36 unrelated and outstanding fraud charges, and was wanted on a warrant for violating related conditions.

Both suspects have been released pending future court dates.

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“Given this man’s extensive history of fraud charges and convictions, and the number of victims in the current series of frauds that officers are investigating, investigators are concerned,” police said in a media release. There may be more victims,” ​​police said in a media release.

Investigators have released a photo of the suspect, who they say is suspected in at least nine frauds, and asked anyone who lost money to him to contact Victoria police at 250-995-7654. Asking to do.

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