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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I am a victim of a rental fraud. I paid rent of property

Resolved Question:

I am a victim of a rental fraud. I paid for the rent of property that never exists. What should I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Can you please provide more details of how this scam happened?

Customer:

Hi! I found this property on Airbnb website. It said that I can contact "the owner" to get a faster reply through email. I send email directly to this woman. She confirmed the availability and price. After that she told be that booking should be made through Airbnb and Airbnb will send me all the information shortly. I received "Airbnb" confirmation with bank details where I need to send my money. I made a transfer. But obviously it wasnt Airbnb who send me bank details and me money just gone

Ben Jones :

so you paid by bank transfer, not a credit card?

Customer:

yes, by bank transfer

Ben Jones :

ok thanks let me get my response ready please

Customer:

ok

Ben Jones :

I will be honest with you from the start that such scams are rarely resolved positively and it is uncommon for victims to get any money back. As you paid by bank transfer you have no protection over the payment, not in the way you would have had if you paid by credit card. So your options are limited to contacting the police who can investigate this, although there is only so much they will do, or making a direct claim in the courts against the fraudsters although you would need their details, which I presume you do not have (their real details that is). Even in court you could win but it does not guarantee you payment, you would still have to pursue them to enforce the judgment and that can just result in more fees and expenses without any guarantee to a resolution. You may also contact Action Fraud o report this although again their help is limited and it is more of an attempt to highlight fraud and help with prevention in the future:

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/support-and-prevention/ive-been-a-victim-of-fraud

The issue with such types of fraud is that the best way to deal with it is early detection and ensuring you avoid being scammed in the first place. Once the scam has taken place and you have parted with your money, getting anything back becomes extremely difficult and often impossible.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you wanted to hear but I hope you understand I have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands and sometimes this does unfortunately mean delivering bad news from time to time. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.

Customer:

Do you think that there is no point even to go to the police?

Ben Jones :

you have nothing to lose by doing so, at least you are covering all options then and if something was to happen then you at least know you have done all you can - if you do not try then you cannot expect to find out if it would have been successful, albeit it is a small chance

Customer:

ok thank you

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

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