HARARE | Bogus estate brokers in Harare have been defrauding customers searching for rental houses.
The scammers promote supposedly accessible houses for rent online and collect deposits from naïve customers.
In the most recent case, which is still under investigation, two scammers posed as estate agents and put an advertisement on the Great Homes Facebook page.
They received deposits ranging from $300 to $1,000 from their victims before fleeing.
The pair appeared in court yesterday to face fraud accusations and were remanded in jail.
On December 16, last year, Mudakureva Matutu and Tinevimbo Mtoko allegedly purported to have a property for rent in Avondale.
They advertised on the Great Homes Facebook page.
The victim responded and contacted the number on the advert and spoke to Mtoko.
The two agreed to meet at the Kuwadzana 2 roundabout and Mtoko was given US$1 000 deposit and rent for the Avondale house.
The victim went to the Avondale address and discovered that the house was already occupied.
He tried to contact Mtoko to demand his money back, but his number was unavailable, prompting him to make a police report.
It was alleged that in the same month, Mtoko and Matutu also convinced their second victim that they had a four-bedroomed house to let in Braeside.
The victim paid US$270 and went to the given address only to discover that there was no such house number.
On December 27, the duo’s fourth victim responded to an advert on a Facebook page called Vinia Realtons that was being run by Matutu.
The victim met with Mtoko who introduced himself as Richard and paid a US$300 deposit.
Their numbers became unreachable soon after.
The duo’s fifth victim responded to an advert by Mika Home and Properties, which was being run by the two.
The victim was instructed to pay a deposit of US$20 via InnBucks and she complied.
She was later told to meet with Mtoko, who introduced himself as Fortune in Kuwadzana, and she gave him US$520 for rentals of a house they said was in Marlborough.
She was given the keys.
When she went to take occupation, she discovered that the house was non-existent.
She reported the matter to the police when she failed to reach the duo.
The last victim lost US$440 to the same modus operandi.
Zororo Nkomo appeared for the State.