11/29/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/28/2023 18:49
Police are appealing to the public to help identify a man following a string of rental scams in Melbourne.
Port Phillip Crime Investigation Unit detectives began investigating in September this year, after a tenant reported being scammed out of a rental property on Queens Road, Melbourne in August after it was advertised on social media.
The victim signed what they believed was a rental agreement, only to be informed by staff at the property that it was in fact a short-stay accommodation.
Following enquiries, police believe several high-rise buildings and short-term rentals have been fraudulently rented out by the same man.
Police believe the man has been hiring out holiday homes and apartments, then purporting to be the owner of the properties, in order to hold inspections.
He then compiles a fake rental agreement, before obtaining a payment of bond and first month's rent from prospective - and unsuspecting - tenants.
Tenants then receive a rude shock when they attempt to move in, with the true owner or holiday makers present in the property advising them that the property is not a rental.
Detectives believe the man depicted may be able to assist with the investigation and encourage additional victims to also come forward.
The man is described as Caucasian in appearance, aged in his late twenties to early thirties, around 180cm tall, of a medium build with short dark brown hair and stubble, and speaks with a Liverpool accent.
He is believed to be frequenting the South Melbourne and St Kilda areas.
Anyone who recognises the man - or believes they may have encountered him and been scammed - is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.auExternal Link.
Quotes attributable to Port Phillip Crime Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Demi Pascoe:
"To have someone take advantage of others, especially during a rental crisis, is deplorable.
"Prospective renters should only be dealing with licenced real estate agents, and if something sounds too good to be true, it generally is.
"Anyone who has fallen victim to a scam of this nature is asked to come forward and report it to police so we can investigate.
"There is no need to be embarrassed - and the information you provide may be what police need to identify the man, make an arrest and lay charges."
Reviewed 29 November 2023