Scam Warning

320 Hatcher House

Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(709) 864-4796


Rental Scams

Rental scams, unfortunately, have become frequent with landlords and students who are advertising properties through online rental listings, websites and social media. A rental scam is one of many tricks used to defraud landlords, students, or potential tenants by gaining their confidence and potentially monetary compensation.

*UPDATE February 1st, 2018

Please ignore contact from Olga Dementeva, email

*UPDATE December 7th, 2017

Please ignore contact from Jennifer Tong Garcia claiming to be from the Philippines.  Their email is 

*UPDATE November 14th, 2017

Please ignore contact from Janet Castillo claiming to be from the Philippines.  Their email is

*UPDATE October 25th, 2017

Please ignore contact from Monica Howard claiming to be from the Barbados.  Their email is

*UPDATE October 16th, 2017

Please ignore contact from Michelle Williamson claiming to be from the United Kingdom.  Their email is

*UPDATE August 16th, 2017

Please ignore contact from Molly Makarfi claiming to be from Sweden, their email is

*UPDATE August 4th, 2017

Please ignore contact from Gina Milroy claiming to be from the United States, their email is

*UPDATE June 27th, 2017

Please ignore contact from Julian Sidney claiming to be from the Philippines, their email is

*UPDATE June 15th, 2017

Several landlords have advised our office of contact from  Joseph A P and/or Joseph Paolo - and Sheila Paolo -  They have gone so far as to send a fraudulent cheque to one potential landlord who verified with their bank it was in fact a fraud.  Here is an article from Australia that references these individuals and their behaviour - 

*UPDATE May 5th, 2017

Several landlords have advised our office of a suspicious request from Brandy Corola Holt.  Her email is 

*UPDATE Jan 30th, 2017

Please ignore contact from Tracy Young claiming to be from Port Washington. Her email is 

*UPDATE Jan 9th, 2017

We are getting more emails of a similar nature with a new name. Please ignore emails from Sandra Eliza Alejandro, her email is

*UPDATE Dec 2nd, 2016

Please ignore emails from Grace Martins( claiming to be from Manchester, UK. 

*UPDATE Nov 1st, 2016

Please ignore all emails from Anne Magpuri( and Jose Magpuri( 

*UPDATE Sept 21st, 2016

Several landlords have notified our office of a suspicious room request. The email in question is and the name is Agna Alexander.

*UPDATE: Sept 12th, 2016

Several landlords have notified our office of a suspicious room request. The email in question is and the name is Naomi Tongying Sungha. Please also ignore Jose Sungha.

*UPDATE: May 9th, 2016

Another scam is making its rounds. Please ignore all contact from a Jessica Krupa. Her email is

*UPDATE: May 3rd, 2016

 Please ignore all emails from or an Agna Alexander. 

*UPDATE: April 21st, 2016

Attention: It has been brought to Off-Campus Housing attention that there is currently an on going scam. Please igrore all contact from a Sarah Peters, 

*UPDATE: March 4th, 2016

Attention Landlords. Please be aware that there are currently multiple scams on going where landlords are being contact through email. If you recieve anything from the follow emails please disregard;, or people claiming to be students named Julie Quinto Zhang or Justise Johnson.

*UPDATE: Aug 24th, 2015

Everyone please be aware that there are scamers attemping to contact landlords and tenants through text message. If you get the following message or one similar please ignore it.

"pls i will like to know if your room is still available..pls send am
email to ( dont reply here my phone
will soon go off it is urgent"

*UPDATE: April 24th, 2015

Landlords, please be aware that there are once again individuals attempting to scam home owners going by the alias of Grace Wilder(Daughter) and Marcus Wilder(Father, also 3rd time this name has come up). They are claiming to be arriving out of China and are using a California area code number, 1-707-687-7430. Please keep your personal information private and feel free to report their attempts to the RNC or any of the agencies’s listed at the bottom.

*UPDATE: December 17th, 2014

Please be aware that there are currently individuals attempting to scam landlords out of personal information, much the same as in the past. Please be aware of the following names and email addresses; Jessica Madison,; and Jessica Krupa. Also, they are now attempting to use the networking site Linked In to gain trust. Please be vigilant with personal information.   

*UPDATE: November 17th, 2014

This past weekend we have had several landlords report a Jessica Krupa, Camille Madison, and Marcus Wilder(Second time, see below) asking for private information and making specfic reference to the OCH Office. Please ignore their emails and forward and addional information to

*UPDATE: November 3rd, 2014

Students please be aware of a fake landlord going by the alias David Lockstein and the email Please also be aware of MICHAEL FALLON, BANDF.FALLON@GMAIL.COM. More information about the nature of the scam can be found on though this link;

*UPDATE: January 30th, 2014:

Off-Campus Housing has heard from multiple landlords within the last 2 weeks regarding potential scams from individuals, some alias may be Shelly Pan, and Marcus Wilder/Pan. Please do not send any potential tenants money, nor should you divulge personal information to anyone via email, including banking information or your full address.

These emails have been extremely believable, so please use caution when talking with prospective tenants. There is a good chance that you are dealing with a scammer if any questions you ask are not directly answered. During your conversation ask what program a student is in, or what their student number is. Students accepted to Memorial can answer these questions, if the person you are talking to cannot, then this may be a good hint that you are dealing with a scammer. If the second or third email from the person seems to be pre-written(as if your response was not read) then it is likely a scam. Use these security measures to obtain confidence that the individual you are corresponding with is indeed seeking accomodations in St. John's. For more guidance, please contact Off-Campus Housing.

Scams Targeting Students

There are many websites on the internet that post rental advertisements. Please exercise caution with your rental search as there are also scams that specifically target potential tenants. Some, for instance, advertise an almost too-good-to-be-true property (sometimes even with photos) and require a deposit or a portion of the rent before letting you view the property. They may promise to send you keys upon receiving payment. Often the photos being displayed aren’t of the actual property address being advertised, and sometimes the photos and the advertisement itself are of a property that actually exists but the scammer has stolen the information from another website and only changed the contact information to theirs.

OCH Tips for Students:

  1. Check out the location of the property, to ensure that the property event exits. Sometimes, the civic number for a property doesn't exist.
  2. Do not send any money or personal information without meeting the landlord or property manager
  3. Have a friend or relative enquire about the property information from the landlord and compare notes
  4. Use an online search engine to search for the person's name, email, telephone number or other identifying features to see if there have been other online complaints

Scams Targeting Landlords

Every year, there are numerous reports of potential rental scams from universities and cities across Canada. Some report that the scammer contacts the landlord offering to pay the full year’s rent up front with a cheque or a money order. In this situation, the money order or cheque is fraudulent. This has occurred several times in St. John's to date. Typically what happens is that the individual sends the rent for several months (or the full lease) and then asks for all but one or two month's rent (deposit) to be returned. Scammers will often state that they need you to quickly return the excess money so they may arrange travel. They do this in the hope that you will send them the money before the normal clearing process has happened at your bank, and the forgery has been detected. This would result in you losing the money that you have returned to them.

OCH Tips for Landlords:

  1. Ask the potential tenant to correspond using their email address
  2. If the potential tenant is in the St. John's area, ask them to arrange a property visit so you can meet the people(s) interested in renting
  3. Ask for and check references, including employers, previous landlords or character references
  4. Use an online search engine to search for the person's name, email, telephone number or other identifying features to see if there have been other online complaints

Warning Signs of a Scam

How do you avoid becoming a victim of a rental scam? There are sometimes commonalities with rental scams. Here are a few things you should look for in emails or online advertisements that may be indicative of a rental scam. Potential “red flags” could include:

·Misspellings and/or grammatical errors

·The property owner or potential tenant only includes a first name

·The property owner is travelling on business and/or is unable to personally show you the property

·The email address is from a free provider (ex. Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc)

·The property owner will send you the keys via mail

·The potential tenant is unable to provide any character references

·The potential tenant references want to move in property unseen (please be aware that most international students will not be able to view a property before they arrive in St. John’s)

·The potential tenant wants to send you a money order or cheque and asks for you, the landlord, to send back the excess money, claiming their mistake or travel arrangements

·The email references God, UK, Cashier’s Check, Doctor, Nigeria, Reverend, and /or to send money to another person or an agent

·You receive multiple emails with similar situations from different individuals in a short period of time


*If you are unsure whether the email you received is legitimate or not, feel free to contact Off-Campus Housing for information regarding scams.

Where to Report Scams

Off-Campus Housing, Memorial University

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre - You will have to copy this link into your web browser to visit this site.

Better Business Bureau- Scam and Tips

Scam Detector






Student Life

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000