(CMR) A rental scammer is on the loose at 26 Canal Lane, Crewe Road, George Town – a scenario that has become all too common in the Cayman Islands. It appears that the landlord is purposely targeting persons in the Filipino community and is alleged to have carried out this scam previously.
Renee Derby, took a deposit and first month's rent from a tenant after agreeing to rent her the room this month. The renter was slated to move in on December 1. Then she was informed that there would be a slight delay until December 3 as repairs were needed. It appears that this was all deceptively done from the onset.
Derby promised to provide her with the contract at the time she was to move in but did give her receipts for money received. However, on December 3, she was informed that the landlord had decided to rent the room to someone else.
On her receipt, she went as far as stipulating that “all monies must be paid before room is occupied'.
She promised to give her back the money the following day but did not do it. After chasing her for the CI$1,350.00 she has now been told that she will pay her back in installments and the owner contacted the police. As can be expected, the police took the side of the landlord and told the tenant she will have to spend money to take her to civil court to try and recover her money. Despite this being a clear case of fraud they have indicated it is a civil matter and are unable to offer any further assistance.
At that point, the landlord asked if she could pay it back in installments! However, the tenant needs that money to secure a new apartment. She is now refusing to accept calls and does not respond to messages. She is also hiding out in her house and refusing to come outside.
The room was originally advertised via Facebook on several classified pages indicating that a 1 bed was available including all utilities.
She has since removed these after becoming aware that she would be exposed. Her Facebook account has now been reported to Facebook. She had some friends but it appears to be an account that has been set up to scam people. It claims that she attended Edwin Allen High School in Jamaica.
CMR understands that Derby may be leaving the island on December 15 for the holidays.
To date, the money has not yet been received and sources inform us this is not the first time that Derby has done this to tenants. Anyone seeing her adverts should exercise extreme caution in dealing with her.
- Do not hand over any money without a contract being first reviewed
- Try to get referrals from previous landlords if possible
- Keep all communications in writing via WhatsApp
- Pay close attention to the social media page that they use to advertise if they advertise on Facebook. Reach out to friends in common to verify their identity.