Singapore man arrested for extorting over $11,000 in home rental scams

He cancelled rental agreements after receiving deposit payments for rooms in Yishun

Closeup of HDB flat in Singapore (left) and Telegram app on phone (Photos: Getty Images)
Closeup of HDB flat in Singapore (left) and Telegram app on phone (Photos: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A 32-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday (4 April) for suspected involvement in a series of home rental scams via a Telegram group chat.

Between February and March this year, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) had received several reports lodged by victims on home rental scams.

The scammer had contacted victims who expressed interest to rent either bedrooms or a whole housing unit along Yishun Avenue 11.

After receiving deposit payments of over $11,000 via bank transfers, the man allegedly cancelled the agreements and did not go through with the rental.

Through follow-up investigations, officers from Woodlands Police Division established the identity of the man and apprehended him.

The man was charged in court on Thursday with cheating, and may be jailed for up to 10 years and/or fined.

Precautions when renting homes

The police have remind the public to be wary of falling prey to home rental scams. They should adopt the following precautionary measures:

  • Advance payment should not be made until tenancy is confirmed. It is advisable to pay rental deposit and rents by cheque or via bank transfer for documentary proof.

  • Confirm the existence and condition of the unit and look out for potential signs of multiple subletting. Do so by visiting the housing unit.

  • Be sure to verify the identities of the people you are dealing with and their relationship to the housing unit. This is especially crucial when not engaging the services of licensed estate agents or registered salespersons.

The public can visit or call the anti-scam hotline at 1800-7226688 for more information. Anyone with information on such scams may call the police hotline at 1800-2550000 or submit information online.

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Yahoo Singapore Telegram
Yahoo Singapore Telegram