Renters warned about the increasing number of scams 

With rents rising fast, potential tenants are now at a higher risk of rental scams. According to the authorities, these types of scams cost victims around $350 million last year alone. 

The rental market has become much tighter in recent months, as home sales have declined and the cost of living has soared. This means that more people are renting and are willing to pay more for the best properties, putting added pressure on the market. 

According to the FBI, more scammers are using this to target consumers looking for rented accommodation, as many are desperate to find high-quality housing at an affordable price. 

The agency’s Boston Division reported a spike in apartment rental scams this year. For this type of scam, apartments are listed on social media or other platforms. The properties tend to be in good condition and listed for less than the normal market rate. 

However, the scammers have used photos from other properties and created a fake listing, along with a real address that doesn’t match the property. 

Due to the high demand for apartments right now, some people are contacting scammers to take the properties without seeing them, as well as paying a deposit for the property. Then, the listing is removed from the platform. 

The FBI says that there were over 11,000 cases of people losing money to these types of scams in 2021, with losses of over $350,000 altogether – a 64% increase from the previous year. The agency also noted that the real number could be much higher as many cases aren’t reported. 

Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, said in July: “We have seen a significant increase in the amount of money being lost by people who are desperate for a good deal. Scammers are cashing in on renters who need to act quickly for fear of missing out, and it’s costing consumers thousands of dollars, and in some cases, leaving them stranded.” 

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