Toronto (January 20, 2020) – Toronto police arrested and charged Nahian Biswas for an alleged apartment rental fraud on January 15. The property in the Dundas Street East and Ontario Street area was advertised online at a much lower price than market value. The police believe the fraud occurred between December 2019 and January 2020. Biswas was charged with Fraud Under $5,000 and Possession of Proceeds of Crime Under $5,000. The Toronto Police encourage additional victims to come forward.
The Toronto Police arrested Nahian Biswas from Toronto for an alleged apartment rental fraud on January 15 according to a press release. The 21-year-old has been charged with Fraud Under $5,000 and Possession of Proceeds of Crime Under $5,000.
The Toronto apartment rental fraud
The police believe that the fraudulent apartment rental was advertised online using a buy and sell classified advertising website and social media between December 2019 and January 2020. The advertised property was located in the downtown core near the intersection of Dundas Street East and Ontario Street.
The apartment was listed at a much lower price than the current market value. A low price that seems too good to be true is often used by rental scammers and is referred to as a red-flag for rental fraud. The police did not disclose how the alleged fraudster was proceeding or how many victims have come forward yet.
Read more: Homeowner warns about rental scam
Biswas was scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall in Toronto on January 16.
Be aware of rental frauds
Rental fraud is an unfortunate yet common experience for many renters. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) frequently issue warnings against rental scams. The CAFC explains that rental fraudsters posing as landlords often ask for upfront payments and ‘[o]nce an offer is ‘accepted’, consumers must send first and last months’ rent (either by a money service business, email money transfer or bank wire) in exchange for the keys. The keys are promised to be express mailed to the tenant’s current address. No keys are ever sent, nor is a rental available by the scammer.’
Read more: House in Edmonton used as property for rental scam for years, deceived dozens of people
Would-be renters are advised to look out for the following warning signs:
- The rent advertised is well below market rates.
- The owner is out of town, and you cannot see the unit in person before sending money.
- There is a “for sale” sign in the yard.
- The alleged owner or property manager wants money through Western Union, MoneyGram, or a gift card.
- An email sends you to a website asking for personal or financial information.
- The ads show pictures of the outside of the property only, or pictures that don’t match the actual property.
It is recommended to never rent a place without having seen it in person or having met the landlord in person. Furthermore, would-be renters are advised to do their due diligence on the property.
Read more: Sudbury Real Estate Board warns against rental scam connected to Prop2Go.com
Anyone who suspects to be a victim of a rental fraud shall take immediate action by calling the police, contacting the rental ad publisher, and reporting the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
In the recent Toronto case apartment rental fraud, the Toronto Police Service is concerned that there could be additional victims.
Anyone with information in relation to this fraud is asked to contact Detective Constable Elliott Lee, at 416-808-5179, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, online on our Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).