Council urges consumers to be cautious

Consumer Council of Fiji is working with the CID on the case of a scammer exposed for housing fraud. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Consumer Council of Fiji is working with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Fiji Police Force on the case of a scammer exposed for housing fraud.

The council is urging consumers to exercise caution when dealing with a Sangita Maharaj, a rental scammer who has reportedly been operating under various aliases on Facebook including Geeta Sagar, Saagrika Sagar, Sangeeta Devi, Sangita Sharma, Sangita Sagar, Sangi, Savi, Rose Smith, and Shiv Enterprises.

According to the council this individual has been orchestrating fraudulent schemes by falsely advertising houses for rent.

She does not own the advertised properties and has neither intent nor ability to secure the properties for potential tenants. Council CEO Seema Shandil said, “The deceptive practices of Sangita Maharaj have primarily targeted potential tenants seeking affordable housing through Facebook.

She advertises a flat located at Niubalavu Road, New Subdivision, Tacirua, at an attractive monthly rent of $600, accompanied by a rental bond of $600.

“However, upon receiving payments from hopeful applicants, Maharaj employs delay tactics, claiming that the flats are undergoing renovations or that previous tenants have yet to vacate the premises,” Ms Shandil said.

The council has, so far, received 12 complaints against Ms Maharaj and has involved the CID to ensure she is subjected to the full brunt of the law.

The council is advising consumers to remain vigilant and take preventive measures to avoid falling victim to rental scams.

Prospective tenants should verify the authenticity of property listings, conduct thorough research on landlords or agents, and insist on proper documentation and legal agreements before making any payments.

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