A FRAUDSTER posing as a landlord has been reported to the police eight times in less then a month.

The man has reportedly been showing possible tenants around a property in Salisbury that he does not own.

When his prospects say they want to move in, the scammer gets them to sign a contract and they send over a deposit.

They only find out this is a scam when he disappears and refuses to communicate further.

Wiltshire Police has received eight reports of rental scams involving this man in Salisbury and Wilton.

Read more: ​The Royal Oak named Salisbury Journal's 'Pub of the Year 2024'

The force has urged residents to be extra vigilant, especially when enquiring about properties advertised on social media.

Complex fraud manager Cheryl Hurren said: "We are following various lines of enquiry in relation to these reports and are taking them very seriously.

"We understand that with the rental market being incredibly competitive at the moment, people might be tempted to take more risks to secure a property.

“However, I would urge people to be cautious and make sure what you are seeing is 100 per cent legitimate."

Renters should be careful when looking at properties on social media.Renters should be careful when looking at properties on social media.

Renters can check if a landlord or agent is a member of an industry body which would indicate they are genuine and committed to improving standards.

“I would ask those looking for rental properties to be aware and report to us if you’ve seen or been involved in anything that has made you feel uncomfortable or suspicious," added Ms Hurren.

“Until you’re certain that the advertiser is genuine, don’t send any money to anyone advertising rental properties online – remember this simple message: ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so’.”

See more: ​Food hygiene: Friar Tuck Cafe in Amesbury needs improvement

If you have experienced something that seems suspicious, call 999 in an emergency. If you need to report something that is not urgent, you can do so by visiting the ‘report fraud’ section on Wiltshire Police's website.

For more information and advice, or to report fraud, you can also visit Action Fraud and the Take Five (to stop fraud) national campaign.

You can check if a landlord or agent is a member of an industry body such as Propertymark, NRLA, and Safeagent.