Police issue warning over Salisbury and Wilton renting scams

WILTSHIRE Police say they’ve received eight reports in the Salisbury and Wilton area of rental scams that involve a man posing as a landlord and showing possible tenants around a property that he does not own.

When they say they want to move in he gets them to sign a contract and they send over a deposit. They only find out this is a scam when he disappears and refuses to communicate further.

Complex Fraud Manager Cheryl Hurren said: “We are following various lines of enquiry in relation to these reports and are taking them very seriously.

“We understand that with the rental market being incredibly competitive at the moment, people might be tempted to take more risks to secure a property.

“However, I would urge people to be cautious and make sure what you are seeing is 100% legitimate.

“Fortunately fraudulent landlords and letting agents are a minority in the industry but there are ways that people can check if the landlord or agent is a member of an industry body, which would indicate they are genuine and committed to improving standards.

“I would ask those looking for rental properties to be aware and report to us if you’ve seen or been involved in anything that has made you feel uncomfortable or suspicious.

“Until you’re certain that the advertiser is genuine, don’t send any money to anyone advertising rental properties online – remember this simple message: ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so’.”

If you have experienced something that seems suspicious, call 999 in an emergency. If you need to report something that is not urgent, you can do so by visiting the ‘report fraud’ section of our Report fraud, bribery or corruption | Wiltshire Police

For more information and advice, or to report fraud, you can also visit Action Fraud and the Take Five (to stop fraud) national campaign.

A police spokesperson said: “We would like to take this opportunity to remind people to be vigilant when renting, particularly when enquiring about property which has been advertised via social media.”

You can check if a landlord or agent is a member of an industry body such as:

The professional body for the property sector | Propertymark

NRLA – The Home For Landlords

Safeagent – The Sure Sign of professionalism (

Some ways that you can protect yourself from rental fraud are:

  • Do not send money to anyone advertising rental properties online until you are certain that the advertiser is genuine.
  • If you need to secure accommodation in the UK from overseas, seek the help of the employer or university you are coming to, or get a friend, another trusted contact or relative to check the property exists and is available.
  • Do not pay any money until you, or a reliable contact, has visited the property with an agent or the landlord.
  • Ask for copies of tenancy agreements and any safety certificates such as Gas Electricity or HMO Licence.
  • Do not be pressured into transferring large sums of money. Transfer funds to a bank account having obtained the details by contacting the landlord or agent directly after the above steps have been followed. Be sceptical if you are asked to transfer any money via a money transfer service like Western Union.

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