It has been reported that more and more people are losing money through online property adverts, on sites such as Gumtree and Craiglist. Trading Standards have reported the rise in the amount of people losing money through these scams.
The scam works by building a persons trust over email about a fictious property. The scammer then asks the prospective tenant to prove they have enough money by sending it to Western Union, either to themselves or to a friend. The scammer then poses as your friend and collects the money.
To avoid being scammed, it is important that you make all transactions face to face or through a traceable card transaction, after viewing the property preferably with a reputable company, so that you can easily make contact in the case of a query or worry. Established companies have better measures in place where as with an unknown private landlord it is hard to gauge how much you can trust them.