French traveller, Jean Mazenod is one of the latest victims of a rental property scam at Sun Peaks after he paid $750 for an apartment that was never for rent.
Mazenod was in Vancouver en route to Sun Peaks when he saw an advertisement on Kijiji.ca for a three bedroom apartment for rent in Sun Peaks’ Timberline Village.
After e-mailing, speaking with and sending references to the owner, “Caroline Gagné,” he deposited $750 at a bank as per the rental agreement they had signed.
“(We spoke) on the phone, she had a stutter, for approximately 20 minutes about how I would treat the place,” says Mazenod.
Gagné even contacted Mazenod’s references to make the scam seem legitimate.
After the first month’s rent and damage deposit money was deposited into Gagne’s bank account, however, the phone number previously used to contact Gagné would ring through to voicemail and e-mails went unanswered.
Despite concern about the lack of contact between himself and his landlady, Mazenod arrived at the apartment in the evening of December 1 to receive the keys, yet Gagné didn’t appear. Mazenod spoke with a neighbour, and showed her the apartment photos from Kijiji.ca only to discover that the photos were of the neighbour’s recently purchased home. They appear to have been downloaded from a realtor’s website and posted on Kijiji.ca as the images for the non-existing rental suite.
Mazenod has a job at Sun Peaks Lodge in Sun Peaks but no place to live after this ordeal. He is currently staying at the Sun Peaks Hostel while he looks for accommodation.
This isn’t the only reported case of Gagné and her rental property scam. Two other potential renters at Sun Peaks signed a rental agreement with her, only to be unable to contact her before they transferred any funds. One Revelstoke renter reports losing $1,600 to this scam artist, and can account for three others in Revelstoke who have been scammed by her as well.
The RCMP is investigating the matter and SPIN will provide updates as they arise.
If you know of accommodation available in Sun Peaks contact Jean Mazenod on 250-667-6436, at the Sun Peaks Lodge or at [email protected].
And, if you’ve been in contact with Gagné or have any information about her, please contact us by leaving a comment below or via our contact form.