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The New Paper
May 25, 2023
For the past six months, a Toa Payoh resident has had prospective tenants show up at his unit and create a scene.
It seems his address has been repeatedly used in a rental scam.
In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, the 70-year-old man, surnamed Lin, said at least seven visitors have turned up at his doorstep informing him that they have paid a deposit to rent his flat.
The last of whom was a young woman who visited the unit on May 20.
"You've been duped like the others," he told the woman.
Lin, who has been living in the flat for 23 years, told Shin Min: "I found out that a scammer posing as a property agent has been using my address as well as photos of my house in bogus rental listings.”
"When the woman showed up at my door, she told me about the deposit she had paid. But I didn't know anything about the matter."
The 23-year-old woman, surnamed Liu, told Shin Min that she saw the flat being listed for rent on Facebook Marketplace, and left a comment indicating her interest.
A man claiming to be a property agent later contacted her on WhatsApp, and they negotiated a monthly rent of $2,780.
After paying a $5,560 deposit to the "agent", Liu was told to pay another $2,000 in "taxes".
This roused her suspicions, so she decided to visit the flat.
Liu also went to the bank for help and discovered her money had been transferred to an overseas account.
She has since lodged a police report.
Liu shared that she lost over $5,000 in the home rental scam.
The homeowner Lin, said that one time, just after Chinese New Year, a couple ended up screaming and crying outside his door after realising they were scammed out of a $12,000 deposit.
"They were in tears, but there was nothing I could do," he said.