Renting an apartment or a single-family home may seem easier than buying one, especially as so much of the process is now streamlined online.
Easier, however, isn't always safer. More than 43 percent of renters have found listings that seem fraudulent, and more than 5 million have been scammed, often losing thousands of dollars, according to a new report from Apartment List, a rental listing website.
The most common scams include the "bait-and-switch," which is when a different property is advertised than the one that is actually available. The scammer tries to collect a deposit or get a lease signed for this property.
Another is the "hijacked ad," which can even happen on homes that are legitimately for sale. The scammer poses as a fake landlord, advertising the for-sale home, but changing the contact information. Another scam is listing a property that is already leased and then trying to collect application fees or security deposits.