A letting agency in Rotherham has been expelled from the Property Redress Scheme (PRS) after reports that an employee had been involved in suspected phishing activity.
Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to get hold of sensitive information or data by acting as a legitimate business.
An investigation revealed that Miete Matthew from Matthew & Evans Rentals claimed to be looking for a ‘responsible person’ to take care of his apartment.
In exchange, he wanted personal information and monthly rent of ‘€575’.
The PRS says his request for ‘personal information’ without taking appropriate steps was a ‘red flag’ in the advert.
A PRS compliance officer reported the matter to the Property Redress Scheme Board, where immediate action to expel the member was taken for unlawful practices and not acting according to the standards we expect from our members.
Sean Hooker, Head of Redress, says: “This is the first time we have come across such a blatant practice and we cannot condone such behaviour.
“It would be remiss of us to allow them to remain part of our scheme. This is a serious breach of professional trust by an agent and is against the law.
“We expect the highest standards of our agents who are members and while mistakes do happen, deliberate attempts to deceive and exploit people will not be tolerated.”
Organisations can be expelled from the PRS for a variety of reasons, including bringing it into disrepute and if trading standards or any other official body asks the PRS to investigate a member’ activities.
The Property Redress Scheme urges consumers to report suspicious behaviour to them immediately, so they can take appropriate action.
The Negotiator tried to approach Matthew & Evans Rentals for comment, but they have disappeared online including their previous listings on Zoopla and PrimeLocation.