Beware of Scams

When searching for housing, it’s important to protect yourself from scams. There are a lot of ways to detect that a listing isn’t real, but the #1 rule is that if something seems too good to be true, it is!

What kinds of scams are common? Some people take money for properties that don’t exist. Others rent out properties that don’t belong to them. There are other types of scams as well, but you can follow a few simple rules to stay safe:

- Never wire money.

- Never give out financial information, credit card numbers, or passwords over the phone.

- Never provide a deposit for a property you haven’t personally seen or to a landlord you haven’t met personally.

More signs of a scam:

- The rent is very low, and the landlord will pay all utilities: the deal is too good to be true.

- An actual address isn’t disclosed.

- The landlord is out of town or out of the country.

- You feel pressured or intimidated.

Remember that it’s okay to walk away. Always physically view the property inside and out and meet the landlord in person. 

If you suspect that the person showing you a property doesn’t own that property, verify ownership before paying them any money. Ask for references from former tenants. Get the landlord's name, home address, and telephone number and verify them through the City or County property records, local Clerk of Court, or Register of Deeds (this information can often be found online). If a building has a manager or management office, be sure to speak with them in person about the unit you’re interested in to make sure it is for rent and that the landlord has the right to rent it to you. adds a layer of protection by having staff review each new listing and making it easy to report scam listings. If you come in contact with a scam listing on, click “Report a Suspected Scam on This Service” on the top-right of the page and fill out a quick form. You can also call 1-877-428-8844 (M-F, 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time) to speak with a representative.