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Police Advisory On Rental Scams Involving The Impersonation Of Property Agents

The Police have observed a persistent scam variant that involves the impersonation of property agents registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). Victims were pressured by the fake property agents into making payments to secure the viewing or rental of properties. Between July 2023 and January 2024, at least 389 victims have fallen prey, with total losses amounting to at least $2.4million.

In this variant, victims would typically respond to property rental listings on various online platforms or websites (e.g., Facebook, Carousell, rental advertisement sites, etc.) with the largest number of victims having responded to listings on Facebook. The victims would generally interact with the scammers through WhatsApp using the contact numbers the scammers published in the property rental listing. During their exchange, the scammers would impersonate a legitimate property agent and convince the victims of their credentials by sending pictures of property agent passes, business cards and pictures/videos or virtual tours of the rental property. However, the contact numbers provided would differ from the actual contact numbers of the legitimate property agent registered with CEA. When victims asked if they could view the property, the scammers would claim that there was high demand to rent the property and pressurise the victims into making deposits to secure the property. Victims would discover that they had been scammed when scammers ceased contact with them or when they reached out to the legitimate property agents who had been impersonated by the scammers.

In some cases, victims were asked to meet up with the “personal assistants” of the fake property agents who would help facilitate their viewing of the property. After the viewing, victims would be told to provide their personal particulars for the tenancy agreement and to make payments for the rentals through bank transfers or PayNow. However, the scammer or “personal assistants” would cease contact with the victims after receiving payments. Between July 2023 and January 2024, at least 144 victims have fallen prey to this method of scamming, with total losses amounting to at least $917k.

The Police would like to advise members of the public to adopt the following precautionary measures:

ADD – Add ScamShield App to protect yourself from scam calls and SMSes. Set security features (e.g., enable two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor/two-step authentication/verification for banks, social media, messaging and Singpass accounts; set transaction limits on internet banking transactions, including PayNow). 

CHECK – Check for the scam signs with official sources (e.g. ScamShield WhatsApp bot @, call the Anti-Scam Helpline on 1800-722-6688, or visit Verify the legitimacy of a property listing via the following means:

  1. Do not rely on Facebook or Carousell listings or the assurances of the scammer over WhatsApp. Potential tenants should verify the identity of the property agents renting out the properties against the CEA Public Register before dealing with them. Check whether the phone number in the property listing belongs to a property agent registered with CEA. To do so, members of the public should key in the advertised phone number on the CEA Public Register @ to perform a search. If the search does not lead to a CEA-registered property agent’s profile page, it means that the phone number is not registered with CEA and is likely a scam, even if the property agent’s name and registration number can be found in the CEA Public Register. Contact the property agent only at the phone number registered with CEA.

  2. Contact the property agent’s agency from trusted sources (such as the CEA Public Register or the agency’s website and not the number given by the Facebook or Carousell advertisement) to verify the authenticity of the listing.

  3. Potential tenants should view the properties in person and check that they are dealing with the actual CEA-registered property agent (not their unqualified assistant) in order to safeguard themselves. Tenants and occupiers should know that under the CEA practice guidelines, property agents are supposed to meet you face to face to verify your identity for all residential rental transactions. 

  4. Property agents are not permitted to demand and collect payments to view or rent properties. Payment of rental deposits or rent should be made directly to the landlord using verifiable payment modes such as crossed cheques and bank transfers and must be paid to the landlord’s bank accounts, not the “personal assistants” bank account or unverified PayNow numbers.

TELL – Tell the authorities, family and friends about scams. Report the fraudulent pages to the online platforms (e.g. Facebook, Carousell) on which you found the listing.

If you have any information relating to such crimes or if you are in doubt, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at All information will be kept strictly confidential. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688. Fighting scams is a community effort. Together, we can ACT Against Scams to safeguard our community!

Annex A
Screenshot of a Rental Posting on Facebook 

20240202_cad Police Advisory On Rental Scams 1

Screenshot of a conversation between the scammer and the victim 

20240202_cad Police Advisory On Rental Scams 2


02 February 2024 @ 1:45 PM
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