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A 32-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday (Apr 4) for his suspected involvement in a series of rental scams via a Telegram group chat.
The police said that between February and March 2023, they received several reports lodged by victims on home rental scams.
"The man had contacted victims who expressed their interest to rent either bedrooms or the whole housing unit in a Telegram group chat, on the pretext of renting out rooms at a housing unit along Yishun Avenue 11," police added.
"After receiving payments for the deposits of more than $11,000 via bank transfers, the man allegedly cancelled the agreement and did not rent the promised rooms or unit out."
Through follow-up investigations, officers from Woodlands Police Division established the identity of the man and arrested him.
The man will be charged in court on Thursday with cheating, which carries an imprisonment term of up to ten years and a fine.
Members of the public are advised to be wary of similar cons and to adopt the following precautionary measures to avoid falling prey to rental scams:
Do not make any advance payment until the tenancy is confirmed, and pay the rental deposit and rents by cheque or via bank transfer for documentary proof;
Visit the housing unit which you intend to rent to confirm its existence, the unit’s condition and potential signs of multiple subletting; and
Verify the identities of the person/s whom you are dealing with and their relationship to the housing unit, especially when you are not engaging the services of a licensed estate agent or registered salespersons.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the police hotline at 1800-255 0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.