A spate of real estate frauds in Albury has prompted a police warning for house hunters to take care.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Stoltenberg said the Albury station had received a number of reports in the past week of potential renters being contacted, given an address to drive past and then being asked to pay a deposit to confirm the arrangement.
"They transfer the cash, they lose the cash, they don't get a rental and they can't contact the people ever again," he said.
The detective agreed the present shortage of rental accommodation on the Border could make those in need of a home more vulnerable to being conned.
"There is a big issue around housing numbers, populations and lack of residential options, so you can't write that off," he said.
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One woman tricked while trying to rent an Albury property with her partner said technology could actually help fraudsters.
"These scammers are getting so good that when they send you a tracking number for your keys it's an actual tracking number with a working link that looks legit," she said in a post.
"I think the more aware people are of these scams, the better."
Another woman warned of private rentals being offered on websites like Gumtree.
"First they'll send an application, then tell you two hours later you have it," she said.
"They say they're out of town and you can go look at it, but you have to deposit within 24 hours the bond, and the keys will be sent."
Detective Chief Inspector Stoltenberg urged people not to fall for such tactics.
"In my experience, real estate agents don't make cold calls just to drum up a bit of rental business off people," he said.
"If you're looking for something, make sure you go out and speak to people face to face. Generally you'd meet the agent, you'd do an inspection of the property etc., not just a drive-by.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it's because it is.
"Hang on to your hard-earned cash."
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