Police are hunting for a man who posed as the landlord of the apartment he was renting in London, in order to con an estimated £20,000 out of duped renters.
The Islington Gazette reports that the scam operated between September 3 and September 11 last year, when the flat on Popham Street was advertised on a range of websites.
Several prospective tenants - mostly believed to be young and from overseas - and paid large deposits thought to exceed £20,000.
However, when the people arrived on the agreed check-in date, they realised they had been conned.
The newspaper reports local police saying at least 12 people fell victim to the con, but fear there may be more who have not yet come forward.
The fake landlord Mustafa Batt, but police believe this is a false identity. He is described as an Asian man in his thirties with short black hair, a short beard and dark-framed glasses.
A police spokeswoman says: “If you recognise this man or have any information about the fraud please call 101 quoting 2721069/14 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you are about to secure a deposit on a flat, please carry out some basic checks before you hand over your money and your identity.”
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