Social Media Scammers Take Advantage of Rental Crisis

May 3, 2023 7:25 am in by


A scam warning has been issued for those looking to find a place to rent.

Posts have been reportedly popping up on local Facebook community groups by people with fake profiles offering private rooms or homes to rent, including a recent post (seen above) from the Tailem Bend community group, advertising a house on Park Terrace.

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While posts like this can sometimes be legitimate, there can be red flags indicating a post is created by a scammer as their Facebook profile is relatively new, with very little information and friends.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Dini Soulio,  says the way a person makes money from a scam like this is by advertising the rental, sometimes using photos of other legitimate listings, and demanding cash from victims so that they can secure the rental before even seeing it in person. 

“If its somewhere regional they might say, ‘this property is available, you can’t see it but you can look at it online and you’ll need to pay a bond if you want to secure it’ and the property isn’t for rent or doesn’t exist,” Commissioner Soulio said.

“It is particularly concerning that there are people willing to take advantage of others in their time of need,” he added, in relation to the State’s rental crisis

Commissioner Soulio suggests looking at the Facebook profile to look out for red flags, seeing the property in person, or asking a friend or family member to, doing a reverse image search of the photos used for the listing or just ignoring the posts altogether.

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Social media scams last year cost Australians more than $80M and $74M was reported lost from other internet scams, including selling rentals, vehicles and even dogs and cats.

“Unfortunately with the use of the internet, we’ve moved from a letter in the post from a Nigerian Prince to someone being able to stick up a photo on social media, get $5,000 for a dog that doesn’t exist, and we’re seeing the same from cars and mobile phones and anything you can buy on social media, so if you can’t see it be very very wary before you part with any money,” Commissioner Soulio said.

More information on scams is on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help. You can also contact CBS on 131 882.

Story by Jennie Lenman. Image at top from Facebook post in April 2023.