Victim duped in online rental ad scam

| 05/03/2018 | 7 Comments

(CNS): At least one person has been conned by scammers using fake online advertisements on for apartments to rent on Grand Cayman. The RCIPS Financial Crime Unit (FCU) is investigating multiple reports concerning the fraudulent ads, where one victim lost CI$2,000, and police urged people to be alert to these types of scams. In this case the online crooks posted details of the apartment and an email address for the listing agent. Once the initial contact is established, the criminal sends more information with a seemingly logical explanation for the attractive rental package. 

Enticing victims with offers of all-inclusive utilities, cable, gas and internet connection/Wi-Fi, the con artists tell their would-be victims that there is no local representative and that the property is managed by Airbnb. Once interest is established, the listing agent sends step-by-step procedures on how to reserve the apartment via Airbnb.

Victims are then requested to wire transfer funds to a third party bank account outside of Cayman. Once the cash is wired, the ads are pulled and all follow-up emails are ignored, with the victim left out of pocket.

RCIPS Suggestions for Protection

The FCU recommends that residents interested in purchasing items or renting property online ensure they are purchasing/renting from a reputable source by verifying the legitimacy of the seller/listing agent and their actual possession of the property/merchandise.


  1. When it comes to making any purchases or securing a rental property, be cautious of advertisements of rental property or items advertised well below market value.  Remember, if the deal appears too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Use the internet to research the advertisement and seller’s name, email addresses and other unique identifiers.
  3. Avoid sellers or rental agents who refuse to meet, or arrange to have someone meet with you, to physically inspect or view the apartment. Pressure them to act quickly.
  4.  Insist on meeting with the individual or their designate in person before conducting any transaction.
  5. If you are suspicious or unsure about the advertisement, immediately contact or file a complaint with the police or FCU.

If funds are transferred to a fraudulent account, it is important to act quickly:

  1. Contact your financial institution immediately upon discovering the scam.
  2. Request that your financial institution contact the corresponding financial institution where the transfer was sent.
  3. Complainants are also encouraged to keep all original documents, emails, faxes and logs of communications.

Because scams and fraudulent websites can emerge and change very quickly, people are encouraged to report any suspicions of possible internet scams by filing a complaint with the police or FCU regardless of whether a loss is suffered. Any such reports can be made to your local police station, or directly to the FCU at 949-8797.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Loads of cars for sale scams on there!!!!!
    Buyer beware

  2. Anonymous says:

    dont be gullable people….i very cautious when it come to money…no matter who it is??

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who sends money overseas to anyone for a rental? And with all the warnings?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know about this scam, but e-cay trade is so full of bs items listed under the wrong headings (to get more exposure I guess) I don’t even look at it anymore.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Whoever is so ignorant or stupid to give away money to scanners, with all the warnings that have been listed about scams, deserves to lose their money.


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