Woman charged over rental scam believed to have cheated victims of over $35k

SINGAPORE - A 56-year-old woman allegedly involved in a string of rental scams where victims lost more than $35,000 was charged in court on Saturday (Aug 27).

Geetha Priya Ravi, who faces one count of cheating, is accused of deceiving her victims into thinking she had units available for rent to get them to fork out rental deposits.

According to charge documents, she allegedly duped a man into transferring to her $2,700 in exchange for securing the rental of a flat in Jurong West Central 3.

On Friday, the police said, between March and April this year, they received several reports from victims who responded to listings on Carousell offering units for rent.

They were told to pay a deposit after viewing the unit. After receiving the money, the woman allegedly became uncontactable.

Officers from Woodlands Police Division established her identity and arrested her on Friday.

The police said: "Preliminary investigations revealed that she is believed to be involved in at least 20 similar cases of rental scams with losses amounting to more than $35,000."

If convicted, Geetha can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each cheating offence.

The police said at least 997 people here have lost $3.9 million since January after falling victim to scammers posing as property agents.

They urged the public to verify the details and contact number of any real estate agent they are dealing with.

"Ask to visit the unit and verify with the owner if the rental offer exists," the police added.

For more information on scams, the public can call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or visit this website.

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