Beware deceptive phone references…

Victoria Police recently raided an apartment and found more than 150 mobiles used to help fool landlords and property managers into renting properties to drug “cooks”.

Each mobile was labelled with a person’s name and attached to another mobile with a company’s name, according to Detective Sergeant Tim Moreland.

It was a “very organised” system that enabled the suspects to verify employment and other details submitted in rental applications, Det Sgt Moreland said.

He warned property managers to be vigilant when calling referees, and not to assume they were genuine.
The apartment also contained many other tools organised criminals use to lease a property these days: post office box keys, high-quality fake IDs, templates for fake documents, genuine credit cards in fake names and computers.
Drug cooks tended not to stay in any one property for an extended period, Det Sgt Moreland said, although cannabis growers stayed longer.

If you are suspicious that a property you are inspecting may have been used as a clandestine laboratory, you need to be aware chemicals and associated equipment are extremely dangerous, he said, adding: Our advice is to get out, and call 000. Do not touch anything.”

Warning signs include unusual packaging, bins with unusual contents, liquid or powder residue, plastic containers, bottled liquids, hand-written notes or receipts and pots and pans containing liquids or other unusual substances.