CROMWELL, Conn. (WTNH) – Finding a new place to live can be stressful, and scammers know it. People in the midst of a big move don’t always have the time to do the necessary research to avoid scams.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut (BBB) released a rundown of a common rental scam, as well as a series of tips to avoid these cons.

BBB officials have stated that the usual scam starts with you responding to an online rental listing, which often features a beautiful home, low rental prices, and great amenities. It will look legitimate, officials said. When you reach out and inquire, the “landlord” will tell you something along the lines of being out of town.

The scammer will then create a false sense of urgency regarding the listing, officials stated. They will want you to act immediately.

To seal the deal on the house as soon as possible, the scammer will ask for a security deposit and/or the first month’s rent to reserve the property. Something to be wary of is that scammers will try to convince you that you can only view the property after you pay the deposit or rent, and only through a rental agent.

In some variations of this scheme, the “landlord” will require prospective tenants to complete an application form, which asks for personal details like a Social Security number, officials said.

“I saw a house for rent on Facebook and reached out,” said one renter who reported this experience to the BBB. “They sent me an application link and requested $50 per adult through CashApp. I sent $100 for two adults and got a confirmation link saying they received the application. After that, they requested $400 to be sent to them to hold the property. I refused since I had not met them in person or seen the house.”

No matter the details or variations, the end results will remain the same: once the “landlord” gets your money, they will stop responding to you.

There are tips to avoid these cons, and the BBB has put together the best so that you can avoid losing out. These are some of the best tricks to avoid a scam:

  • Be suspicious of deals that are just too good to be true, this is how scammers try to lure you in.
  • Search the information given to you online. Do a search on the listing, the scammer’s email address, and phone number. If you find the same ad listed in other cities, it’s likely a scam.
  • See the property in person. Do not send anyone money until you have seen the listing in person.
  • Don’t pay a stranger with personal transfer apps such as CashApp or Venmo, this is a scammer’s preferred method of getting money.

If you’ve been the victim of a rental scam, the BBB is asking for your help by having you report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker.