PHOTO: The scammer claimed to be away in the Defence Force but was renting a property out. Supplied

A couple looking to make a fresh start in Tasmania have fallen victim to a scam leaving them $2,000 out of pocket, a real estate agent says.

Key points:

  • A Launceston real estate agent says scammers have used a property his firm handles to rip off renters
  • The scammers used a fake lease to extract bond money from the victims, for whom English is a second language
  • The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania says a bond should never be paid to a property owner

Scammers posing as Australian Defence Force officers contacted the couple on popular buy-and-sell site Gumtree, offering them a property for rent and asking for $2,000 as a bond to secure the property.

Launceston real estate agent Tim Saunders said the scammers replicated a property his agency had for rent, but at a cheaper price.

“They ghost properties and put them on sites that are outside the regular real estate portals,” Mr Saunders told Leon Compton on ABC Radio Hobart.