Property agent busts rental scam on viral TikTok video

5 min read

Rental scams are not a new ruse in Singapore. However, as more turn to sourcing for rental apartments through online portals, there’s been more opportunities for unscrupulous individuals to prey on unsuspecting people looking for a home. 

In this case, property agent Abu Idris managed to nab one such scammer, revealing their entire conversation thread on his TikTok account. His viral video has since amassed over 94k views at the time of writing.

@realtor_abu_idris Rental Scam Alert, Police complain made. Beware Tenants, Ad still active.Claims to be Agent, Uses Real pictures from other listings. #tiktok_sg #scam ♬ Suspicious, slow and simple song – Kohrogi

The scam

Abu responded to a listing found on rentinsingapore, a website where people can find rentals or lease their place out for rent. The scammer was posing as a property agent helping his client list their flat online. 

In Abu’s initial message, he messages the scammer as a tenant’s agent to secure a flat for his clients, stating his client’s profile and asking to view the unit. 

The scammer responds immediately with photos of the house, telling Abu that many people are interested in the unit and that it was newly renovated. 

From this point onwards, the red flags start going up. Looking at the pictures, it is apparent that the unit isn’t a HDB flat from the windows in the living room. 

Abu continues to play along with the scammer by confirming the move-in date and that the apartment was fully furnished.

Here, the scammer tries pushing for a 1+1 deal, which is a total of two months’ deposit. Since one month’s rental is S$2,800, that works up to S$5,600. Usually, if the rental is only for a year, just one month’s deposit should be given, instead of two. 

Pressure tactics are also used, with the scammer telling Abu that other people are looking to close on the flat. This is especially effective if tenants are desperate for a place to stay and wants to close the deal quickly in fear that they would lose out on a well-renovated apartment at a good price. 

More pressure is applied – the scammer smells blood in the water, and he’s moving in for the kill. He even says that the landlord is going overseas to Taiwan and wants to secure a tenant as soon as possible. 

Abu wants to view the property and sign the Tenant Agreement (TA), but the scammer buys time and pushes the date. 

Finally, the scammer gives the full address of the Tampines rental unit. Using this, Abu is able to verify ownership proof through the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website.

With this, Abu immediately registers a police report against the scammer. Even so, the scammer appears remorseless and is unrepentant for running a scam on unsuspecting people. 

In April last year, a woman listed her home for rental and cheated victims out of over S$10,000 in rental deposits and payments, with zero intention of renting out her flat. Another case involved a man listing a room in his flat on Carousell, collecting over S$17,000 from eight victims before getting caught. Some of his victims did not even realise it was a scam until the police contacted them.

How to avoid rental scams?

1. Always view the unit in person before committing. Scammers always use photos of well-renovated and well-furnished homes to lure tenants in. Some even going as far as ripping off legitimate listings and re-listing it with a lower price on other platforms. If the ‘agent’ makes excuses and tells you the unit can only be viewed from the outside, it’s most likely a scam.

2. Make sure all parties sign the tenancy agreement. Just because you’re under pressure to find an apartment doesn’t mean you should rush into making a deposit before signing any documents. No document? No deal.

3. Make the payment directly to the property owner. After all parties have signed the relevant documents, issue your initial deposit directly to the landlord. Always use a cheque or bank transfer so if anything goes south, you’ll have records on hand to get your money back. There are two ways to check property ownership:

  • For private properties, purchase the ownership information from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) INLIS website (S$5.25). You should also check the annual value from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website (S$2.50).
  • For HDB flats, ask the landlord for Proof of Ownership, which they can access through HDB’s website. You may also ask to view Service & Conservancy Charges letters to establish that the flat does indeed belong to the landlord. 

4. Use trusted property platforms. On, all listings are regulated and by agents registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). Engaging an authorised agent to help you on your search for a rental apartment isn’t an absolute necessity. However, doing so enables you to safeguard your interests, especially if you’re a first-time renter.

If you’re unsure about the nuances of engaging an agent, CEA has some useful guides on what to note when engaging a property agent in a rental transaction.

Do you know of any other rental scams? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook post.

If you found this article helpful, check out 5 real estate scams that could run rampant during Covid-19 and Who is the “Tenant’s Agent” & should you engage one?

Looking for a property? Find the home of your dreams today on Singapore’s fastest-growing property portal! If you would like to estimate the potential value of your property, check out’s Property Value Tool for free. Also, don’t forget to join our Facebook community page or Telegram chat group! Meanwhile, if you have an interesting property-related story to share with us, drop us a message  — and we’ll review it and get back to you.

Looking to sell your property?

Whether your HDB apartment is reaching the end of its Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) or your condo has crossed its Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) window, it is always good to know how much you can potentially gain if you were to list and sell your property. Not only that, you’ll also need to know whether your gains would allow you to right-size to the dream home in the neighbourhood you and your family have been eyeing.

One easy way is to send us a request for a credible and trusted property consultant to reach out to you.

Alternatively, you can jump onto’s Property Value Tool to get an estimate for free.

If you’re looking for your dream home, be it as a first-time or seasoned homebuyer or seller – say, to upgrade or right-size – you will find it on Singapore’s fastest-growing property portal

Meanwhile, if you have an interesting property-related story to share with us, drop us a message here — and we’ll review it and get back to you.

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