A young couple who recently turned to the web to find a property to rent have fallen prey to a fraudulent advert, after enquiring about the property.
The pair, from Bridgend, south Wales, agreed to pay £300 in advance to a man they believed was the landlord, after being asked to prove that they can afford the rent.
After finding what they thought was a suitable property on Gumtree, Amy Da Cruz, 22, and Matthew Morgan, 26, started talking to who they believed was the landlord via WhatsApp.
Amy told the press: "We got really excited about the house. We were sent pictures of the inside and it seemed to have large bedrooms, a driveway, a big kitchen and garden, so we were really keen."
The fraudulent landlord who posted the advert asked for a further £500 on the day of the viewing, insisting that the money would act as the first month's rent.
The couple agreed to transfer the funds in good faith, even though they had not yet viewed the property.
When they eventually went to the house, they found that it was occupied and owned by a 99-year-old man who had no idea his home had been placed on the market to let.
"I was so annoyed," said Amy. "I emailed the landlord straight away asking what was going on. They emailed back saying that they had injured their foot and that they would meet us the next day. We knew something was up. I asked for the money back, but have not heard from them since."
Fraudulent adverts most often appear on free advertising websites as there is no cost to advertise the fake property.
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