For Rent


A sophisticated and organized scam is ensnaring Chinese nationals upon their arrival in New Zealand, only to discover that the rental properties they believed they were securing are already inhabited. Operating under the guise of real estate agents, the scammers persuade their victims, predominantly in Auckland, to part with substantial sums of money.

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According to authorities, these fraudulent activities can originate from anywhere globally, targeting Chinese nationals seeking accommodation in New Zealand. Police have noted multiple instances of this scam within the Chinese community, with reports emerging on popular New Zealand-based Chinese forums.

In each case, the scammers masquerade as legitimate landlords or agents, often initiating contact through the messaging app WeChat. They provide seemingly authentic identification documents and coerce renters into digitally signing falsified tenancy agreements, accompanied by significant monetary transfers into New Zealand-based bank accounts.

Furthermore, the scammers employ tactics to extract additional funds from their victims under false pretenses, such as claiming competing interest from local tenants. Victims are sometimes coerced into making further payments to ensure the purported rental property is furnished.

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Upon arrival in New Zealand, however, renters are confronted with the reality that their chosen property is already occupied. Police stress the importance of vigilance, advising individuals to refrain from transferring money to unverified sources and to conduct thorough due diligence before entering into any agreements.

They recommend verifying the legitimacy of landlords or agents through official channels, such as websites and physical addresses, and enlisting the help of local contacts to inspect properties on their behalf. In case of suspicion or attempted scam, individuals are urged to cease communication immediately and report the incident to the authorities, emphasizing the importance of trusting one’s instincts when encountering potentially fraudulent schemes.