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Rental Scams in Australia: How to Protect Yourself and Avoid Financial Loss 

  • by Admin
  • 23 May, 2023

Rental scams remain a significant problem in Australia, as opportunistic scammers exploit the limited availability of rentals to prey on desperate tenants. In 2022, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was flooded with over 658 reports of rental scams, leading to a tremendous loss of $544,846. 

These scams can have devastating consequences, including financial loss, identity theft, and emotional distress. To avoid falling prey to rental scams, it's essential to know what to look out for and how to protect yourself. 


Warning Signs of Rental Scams 

  • Scammers often advertise properties on platforms like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, targeting unsuspecting tenants. 

  • Unusually low prices, rushed decisions, and requests for upfront payments or personal information are red flags. 


Protecting Yourself from Rental Scams 

  • Use legitimate real estate sites and deal directly with property managers or landlords you meet face-to-face. 

  • Only provide personal information or make payments to alleged landlords after confirming the authenticity of the rental application and lease agreement. 

  • Conduct property inspections or have someone trustworthy do it on your behalf. 

  • Beware of email communication and potential impersonation of legitimate landlords or property managers. 


Online Real Estate Portals: Fast, Safe, and Free 

  • Real estate portals offer a secure platform for finding rentals and listing properties from registered agencies. 

  • With new rentals becoming available daily, these portals provide ample opportunities to secure a property. 

  • Utilise tools like alerts and application systems to streamline your search and application process. 


The Benefits of Real Estate Portals and Licensed Agencies 

  • Dealing with licensed real estate agents provides face-to-face interactions, ensuring your interests are safeguarded. 

  • Licensed agents follow residential tenancy laws and can actively assist you in finding suitable rentals. 

  • Their adherence to a Code of Conduct ensures you are protected throughout the tenancy agreement. 


At the end of the day, trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true or misleading, cease all interaction with the 'property manager' or 'landlord' and look for a legitimate listing. More information on scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help. Stay safe! 

Anyone who suspects they are a rental scam victim should act quickly to reduce the risk of financial loss or other damages.   

They should contact their bank as soon as possible and, if relevant, contact the platform on which they were scammed to inform them of the circumstances.  

IDCARE is a free government-funded service that works with victims of identity theft to develop a specific response plan and support them throughout the process. You can phone them at 1300 IDCARE (432273) or visit their website  





RMA Rental Management Australia