Manitoba RCMP recently warned citizens about scammers posting fraudulent advertisements for renting homes.. Century Foxx 21 Realty was the group who brought this to the attention of the police, as the suspects had been using photos of their listing properties. 

According to Rhonda Lodwick, owner of Century Foxx 21, this has been happening for years, but activity has increased recently.

"People are taking our listings and posting them as if they're for rent, and then having people call in to rent a home. They then collect a deposit in advance and, basically, take advantage of the public and steal their money."

She also explained that scammers will use an excuse as to why they cannot show the home, and in some cases, draft believable "lease agreements" to add credibility.

"We really just want the public to know that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is." Lodwick shared, "But some of the ads have the rents going up, so they've put the rents up higher to really make it look legit, as well. If you are not meeting the owner to look at the house before sending money, again, there's a good chance it's a scam."

Lodwick mentions why she thinks this is having an effect now.

"There's a shortage of homes for rent, like, actual homes. With apartments, there's likely availability, but not homes. I think people that are desperate to just find a home or really want that home versus an apartment that they're willing to jump at the chance. So, if you see a house for rent that looks like a nice three-bedroom house for $900, again, it's likely a scam."

She instructed anyone who comes across one of these sham listings, to report them to the website they are hosted on, or alert the realtor who represents the property.