Metropolitan Police are currently trying to locate a suspect in relation to a series of property rental frauds across London, five of which were in Westminster.
The woman placed an advertisement with two property rental websites, leaving a name and mobile contact phone number. The ad was responded to by individual foreign nationals looking to rent one or both rooms within a property in Westminster, following which she met them individually and in person at the flat, obtaining cash deposits of up to £1,000 in exchange for signed tenancy agreements and front door keys. She asked the victims to wait for two days to allow the existing tenants to vacate.
When each victim arrived to move into the property, however, they found that it was already occupied and not available for rent. The keys they had been given no longer fitted the door lock and the suspect could not be contacted by phone.
Police advise that if you are looking to rent a property, do not hand over any money until you are confident that the property is genuinely available to rent and that the individual offering the property is really who they say they are.
The suspect is described as 1.62m to 1.65m tall, with a heavy build, shoulder length dark hair and approx 35-40 years old. She speaks with a Portuguese accent and has a distinctive tattoo on her right hand resembling a rocking horse.
If you know of the whereabouts of this person, have any information regarding these offences or have been a victim of this woman, please contact Westminster CID on 020 7321 7613.