Shivering as she stood on the pavement edge, Jesica Beltram desperately punched the digits on her phone.

For over two hours, she and boyfriend William had been waiting for their landlord to show them the property they’d paid a £700 deposit on.

But no-one turned up.

Trying not to burst into tears outside the block of flats in Angel that miserable cold morning, the 21-year-old grew more and more anxious.

‘I called and called, but the landlord wasn’t answering her phone and I didn’t know what to do,’ remembers Jesica.

‘Then I suddenly had an ‘oh my god’ moment. I realised we’d been scammed.’

Jesica and William’s story is part of a worrying trend of rental rip-offs across the UK, with cases popping up in London, Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent and beyond.

Earlier this year the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agents Team (NTSELAT) warned that scam schemes involving fake landlords and bogus estate agents were on the…

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