How do I avoid a scam?

We love the convenience of shopping online for an apartment, but it's important to keep an eye out for scams and fraud. works to ensure that you have a positive experience using our site, but we cannot guarantee that our sites are 100% free from false or fraudulent listings. 

An easy way to tell if a listing has been verified by is to look in the header. 

The Costar Verified icon means the listing was screened by our team. 

The Avoid Scams icon means the listing was posted by a 3rd party. Watch for red flags.

Common Red Flags

  • Rent offered below market. Scammers know that innocent renters will be less cautious if they are motivated to close quickly on a deal so they don’t lose out on something too good to be true.
  • Request to wire money. Legitimate landlords do not ask renters to wire money to any account, especially an account located abroad. Nor do they ask for money by Western Union, MoneyGram or other money transfer service.
  • Request to use another listing service or escrow account to transfer money. Scammers may impersonate legitimate listings services, like AirBnB or HomeAway, or request that money is sent to an escrow account to make renters believe they are dealing with a legitimate entity.
  • Dramatic landlord story. The landlord has received a job assignment abroad and must rent the unit ASAP. You are invited to drive by the building, but no one can show it to you because everyone is already living abroad. And you need to commit in the next 24 hours because dozens of people are waiting to sign the lease. A legitimate landlord will meet you in person and allow you to tour the property before asking for a deposit to secure the rental.
  • Can’t or won’t meet in person. For whatever reason, the landlord/agent refuses to meet you in person at the property. They may even send you an access code to unlock an electronic lockbox to gain entry by yourself to the house, condo or apartment you are looking to rent.

For additional information, insight and tips on how to avoid scams, please visit Avoid Scams and Fraud

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