Amsterdam conman targets more expats whilst awaiting trial for same offence

Published:  31 Jul at 6 PM
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A property rental scammer on bail in Amsterdam whilst awaiting trial was arrested again last week for conning four more victims.

The conman’s modus operandum was to target newly-arrived expats in the city via Facebook and other social media outlets by posing as a bona fide letting agent. He was first arrested at the end of last year after scamming a number of prospective expat renters, the majority of whom were expats. After viewing the properties, victims were offered rentals on payment of a deposit, a month’s rent and a commission. Later, he would contact his victims to tell them the deal could not go through before disappearing with the cash. Each scam netted him an average of around €2,000, with his total take estimated at around €50,000.

Following his arrest, the conman was allowed out on bail to await his trial, but was arrested again last week when four more expatriates complained to the police. At the time of his arrest he was showing several foreign workers round an apartment, claiming he was working for the AMS Makelaardij housing agency. According to his victims, he seemed charming, kind and helpful, and even took his child along to viewings. To date, a total of 18 people were ripped off by the fraudster earlier this year, with four more losing out since his first arrest. Amsterdam police are now asking more victims to identify themselves and provide details of their losses.

Expats are being urged not to fall for this and other similar scams proliferating due to the massive shortage of accommodation in the city. The housing market is experiencing record demands due to an increase in expat arrivals, with property prices soaring as a result, and locals being forced to move to the suburbs when their renal contracts end. In addition, newly-arrived expats are unaware of how the rental market system works, making them easy targets for conmen and scammers.
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