City of London police have issued a fraud alert after two men set up a fake lettings agency and fleeced unsuspecting tenants of £24,000 in deposits.
The pair, named as Tawfikur Tahman and Shofiqul Islam, advertised a one-bedroom flat for rent on Gumtree.
Prospective tenants were then told it had been let but were shown, at different times, another flat at an address at London Wall in the City, where the pair had rented a small office. They each handed over about £2,000 in cash, signed lease agreements and arranged to pick up the keys.
Ten tenants then turned up on the same day to collect the keys. Some had possessions with them and were left homeless by the scam.
The scam, whereby fake rental properties are advertised on Gumtree, is a long-established one, but the scammers generally do not go to the trouble of renting an office.