The way the scam works is that the scammers hijack legitimate listings, and then change the pricing and contact information. They will lower the price to attract a victim, and then they will ask for a deposit to be paid by check or wire. When the victim pays, the scammer cannot be found again. For contact information, the scammer will use a burner cell phone and a fake or spoofed email address. And the scammer will set up fake references.
Red flags that you should look for include:
- Unusually low rent
- An out-of-state landlord or management company who cannot be contacted in person or show you the property in person.
- They want a check or wire transfer for payment.
- Poor grammar or poor spelling of offer in their texts.
If you do find a property that you are interested in with a very low price, do a Google/Bing search on the address. More than likely you will find the legitimate listing with rent much higher.