While such cases are rare, it is important for potential tenants to ask to see proof of ownership of the property. Only write cheques to the owners' names. Never hand cash to the person you are dealing with as there is no paper trail to follow-up on.
If possible, only deal with agents who are registered with the Council of Estate Agents (CEA) . On the CEA's website is a directory which you can search to see if the person you are dealing with is a registered agent. Non-registered agents are flouting the law and you would not be protected when things go wrong.
Snippet from AsiaOne
Thursday, Oct 13, 2011
A 53-year-old man is believed to have collected over $6,000 in at least two rental scams.
Police said he arranged for victims to view a flat in Blk 178 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 and collected deposits and rental advances from them.
He would then become uncontactable after collecting the money.
He will be charged in court this Friday with cheating, which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine.