Fake apartment deals under investigation

Scam artists are posting fake apartment rental deals on internet marketplace Ecay Trade to con people into sending them funds.

Financial crime officers are currently investigating multiple reports of fraudulent apartment rental advertisements in the Cayman Islands.

At least two people in Cayman have been conned into wiring funds to the fraudsters. In one case, the victim lost $2,000 through the scam, according to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

The fraudulent adverts typically include photographs, details of the apartment and a “too good to be true” deal for rent and utilities.

When someone responds, they are informed the listing is being handled through Airbnb, given guidelines on how to reserve the apartment and asked to wire a deposit to a third party bank account outside of Cayman.

Once the money is transferred, the fraudsters remove the ad and ignore all future contact.

The Financial Crime Unit has warned residents to be wary of rental deals being advertised below market value, to avoid sellers that refuse to meet in person, and to research sellers names and email addresses before responding.

“Although the advertisements have been subsequently removed by EcayTrade they may resurface in future,” the unit said in a press release.

Report suspicions of possible internet scams to the FCU at 949-8797.

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