RCMP looking for online scammer after Pincher Creek homes listed as fake rentals

Mounties are investigating an alleged rental fraud after a Pincher Creek homeowner found her home was listed on a rental website without permission.

The homeowner phoned police in early November, after multiple people turned up at her address, wanting to view the property. One hopeful renter reportedly put down a damage deposit through an online money transfer.

Investigators later found at least two other area homes were being advertised on the website without their owners’ permission, according to Const. Brooke Riding, investigating officer at Pincher Creek RCMP.

“We think this has been happening for months prior to that,” she told Shootin’ the Breeze.

Riding declined to name the website, explaining that police don’t believe its operators had been involved. The website has since removed all three suspicious listings, Sgt. Ryan Hodge said.

Riding declined to say if police have identified any suspects, citing the need to protect the detachment’s ongoing investigation.

Rental frauds rely on people’s willingness to send unseen landlords money online, something Riding strongly advises against.

Carefully research a rental property to make sure it’s legitimate, and always insist on viewing a rental before agreeing to send any money, she suggests.

Anyone with knowledge of the alleged fraud is encouraged to call Pincher Creek RCMP’s non-emergency line at 403-627-6010, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

Laurie Tritschler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze