Bonn In the past few days there has been an increase in fraudulent ads appearing on property websites. Several interested people have fallen for the trick and already transferred money.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is examining several cases of fraudulent apartment adverts which were published online and warns urgently against the scam. Three criminal charges have been brought forward in the past few days, the police reported on Wednesday.
According to the police, several ads offering rooms in shared flats or small apartments were published between September 26 and October 12. When interested parties contacted the suspected fraudsters via the internet or a messenger service, the victims were asked to transfer amounts of 400 to 600 euro as a deposit. They did not receive the promised key, and the alleged landlord was not reachable since.
As the police report, the money transfer was made to a foreign bank. In one other case the interested person thought it was suspicious that he would have to pay rent and deposit beforehand and filed a complaint. He had previously contacted the alleged supplier of the apartment via a foreign number.
Fraud victims had already posted warnings against the scam on Facebook. One affected woman described how the suppliers of the fraudulent ads were presenting fake identities and passports and pretending to be currently abroad.
The police in Bonn urgently warns people to not fall for apartment fraudsters online. Telephone contacts are not a basis for money transfers and transfers to foreign accounts are not common.
If in doubt, please contact the police.
Original text: Andreas Dyck
Translation: Mareike Graepel