“Subscribed me to PornHub”: Vancouver woman fed up with rental scams

Vancouver has a competitive rental market, and scams are causing one woman much grief in her search for a home.

The woman, who chose to remain anonymous out of fear for her safety, emailed Daily Hive in late April to raise awareness of the issue.

“I’m stuck dealing with Craigslist and many scams,” she said.

In some scams she’s dealt with, she believes that some “landlords” have used different people’s identities to try to appear more legitimate. Her story is a lesson in the unfortunate necessity of knowing what to avoid when looking for a place to rent and being careful about what information you give to potential bad actors online.

The Vancouver woman was looking for a place for May or June 1. She just moved back to Vancouver after living abroad for four years. She’s currently living in her partner’s guest suite, which is being set up to provide live-in care for one of her parents.

As she has found, the Vancouver rental market is a tough nut to crack on the best of days, nevermind when dealing with fake people. It’s even more challenging to find a place as a dog owner.

“I’m lucky to have their house as a temporary stay, particularly as I have a medium-sized rescue dog who is beyond the preposterously small restrictions that the very limited dog-friendly rentals do not permit.”

She pointed out that even the places that say they’re dog-friendly have restrictions on size.

Most of the allegedly fake landlords she dealt with pushed her to virtual viewings rather than seeing the unit in person, which might be a red flag in itself for prospective renters. At one point, she even thought she was dealing with AI.

“I can see how people would fall prey and give away highly sensitive information that could lead to fraud, who knows what else,” she said.

One landlord asked her for her date of birth, among other personal questions, which felt suspicious.

She referenced one landlord who went by the same name as an actual realtor, even using his picture and email signature from an actual property management company.

“Even the lease form he attached is actually one you’d get from the City of Vancouver,” she added.

She contacted the actual realtor, who told her it wasn’t him. He thanked her and asked her to report it.

In another exchange, she dealt with someone who, when pressed about their identity, shared a link to their alleged LinkedIn page, where they referred to themselves by other names in previous posts.

In response to her concerns, they said, “You need to grow up and stop saying things you know nothing about,” adding, “Kindly look for another apartment.”

She told Daily Hive, “He got mad, and in the middle of the night, someone subscribed me to PornHub. Now I am stressed he’s going to be vindictive and try to use my email, picture, and any info he has on me to exact revenge.”

The potential scams were reported to Craigslist, and at least one of the listings has been flagged for removal.

She exclaimed, “This is what renters are dealing with!”

Her quest for a home continues for now, but thankfully, she does have a lead.

We’ve contacted the Vancouver Police Department for more information on rental scams.

Have you faced many scams when looking for a rental in Vancouver?