Recently, the Bozeman Police Department has received complaints from community members who have discovered this scam.

Fortunately, they discovered it was a scam before sending any money to the “landlord”.

Generally posted on Craigslist, a “landlord” will list a home or apartment at an unbelievably great price.

They’ll feature photos of an adorable place with the desired amenities.

Of course, they’ll have dozens of people respond to the ad and most will want to snatch it up before it’s gone.

This landlord is all too willing to please everyone too.

In fact, he will collect deposits, first and last month’s rent and other fees from anyone who’s interested – and then skip town.

They do it by finding a photo of a cute house, then listing it for rent.

They target people relocating to a new city or town that can’t physically check out the house and won’t know it’s not located in the area claimed.

The problem comes when the renters try to move in and discover it was never the landlord’s to rent in the first place.

A slight variation of this scam occurs when the landlord rents a house or apartment with the intention of re-renting it to dozens of people.

Here’s how you can avoid becoming a victim:

Make sure the “landlord” really owns the house. If it’s an apartment or condo, call the related association or property management company and ask if you’re renting from the legitimate owner.

If it’s a home, you’ll have to search the property records in the area that the house or apartment is located. If the names don’t match in either of these circumstances, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.

Do a quick Google search on the landlord’s name as well as the address of the house you’re considering renting. If they've scammed anyone else, you’ll probably find information about it online. In addition, you may find useful information about the house, like whether or not it’s been involved in previous scams.

If the person you’re dealing with doesn't ask you for an application or doesn't care to screen tenants with a background check, you may be dealing with a scammer.

Fake landlords will seem to make renting and qualifying as easy for you as possible. If you’re a landlord, be sure to check all references, credit reports, criminal histories, and employers before you offer a lease.

If you feel you've been duped, please call the Bozeman PD at 406-582-2000.

Source:  Bozeman Police and