A con artist, posing as a property owner, robbed almost $100,000 from two couples who attempted to rent an apartment in New Kingston and there are fears that others might have fallen prey to the scam.
The man is now on the run after the victims reported to the police that he had collected money from them for the rental of an apartment without the knowledge or consent of the owner.
The sad tale started last Saturday and played out over four days as the scammer collected the people's money and disappeared.
"My husband and I saw an advertisement about the apartment for rent in a newspaper on Saturday, May 26, so we called the number and arranged to look at it," Nadine told The Sunday Gleaner.
"When we arrived at the gated New Kingston apartment complex, we liked what we saw and paid him $30,000 for the deposit and $28,000 for the rent.
"He took off $2,000 for the rent because although it was a furnished apartment, we had our own television and fridge," added Nadine.
She said they paid the man in United States dollars as that was the only currency they had, having just returned to Jamaica after living in Barbados for some time.
According to Nadine, they were handed the keys to the apartment and a receipt.
They moved in shortly after, even though the man renting the apartment said he would send a lady there to clean it the following day.
"On Monday, we went to Half-Way Tree to buy a lock to change the one that was there and when we returned the security guard wanted to know who we were visiting. When we told him that we had just moved into apartment number, he said that was impossible because the man could not rent it to us.
"He took us to the office and there we met the other couple who had also paid the man the deposit."
By now, all four were figuring that they were scammed, but this was confirmed when the owner of the apartment was called.
"It appears that he had initially rented the apartment and when he moved out he pretended that he could rent it to us and left with all our money," said Nadine, as her voiced started to break.
The matter has been reported to the New Kingston police.
Name changed on request.