A Blessing in Disguise

When our permanent residency application was approved in 2008, hubby and I started looking for a flat for rent. We have been renting a room since 2005 but since our daughter is joining us in Singapore permanently, we thought it's about time to rent a flat for ourselves.

Due to limited budget, we opted not to engage a house agent so that we don't have to pay an agent fee. We looked for house owners without an agent in the newspaper ads and directly liaised with one of them. I can still vividly remember, we went to view the flat on a special family occasion.

When we arrived at the HDB block we were told to go, I called the "house owner" and we were instructed to go to another unit number (different from the unit number posted in the newspaper ads). It was our first time renting a whole flat hence the newbies in us did not suspect anything fishy.

We went up to the house owner's unit and was really impressed on how clean and modern the flat was. It was nicely renovated and the interior was beyond ordinary. There are only two people in the house,  the man  who welcomed us inside the 3 room flat and a lady ironing inside one of the common rooms.

Out of excitement and eagerness to have a place of our own (no more housemates and more privacy at last), we expressed our interest in renting the flat right away. The "house owner" told us there are many families who already viewed their unit and also expressed interest in renting it so he asked if we could give him a one month deposit.

Before handling him the deposit, I told the hubby to ask for his IC (Singapore Identity Card) to verify his identity and address. Nothing looked suspicious. We also checked the back portion of the IC and confirmed that he indeed live in the unit so we paid the deposit, set the date to move in and left very happy. We even went to check out the neighbourhood school and registered my girl for Primary 1.

Days later, the school approval was sent. We started packing our things. Nearer the set move-in day, we tried to contact the "house owner" to no avail. Phone number was no longer in use. We were heartbroken. We filed police report after verifying that the con man pretended as the house owner.

We are not the only family he cheated, there are more or less 10 families. We are the only family whom he collected the least amount of money. Other families paid one month deposit and two months advance. Months after, he was jailed but we never got back our money.

Lesson learned: Never trust a stranger and it's safer to engaged a legitimate house agent. When in doubt with the house owner or the the agent's identity, check with the relevant authorities. They have a way of verifying house ownership.

Moving on, we consider the con man a blessing in disguise. We are so much happier and safer where we live now. I just wish there's a way to scan IC of people to check if they are just putting up a front as a house owner.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry you were scammed but when people do God's children wrong they have to deal with Him.