Scammers are catfishing would-be renters out of their deposits amid coronavirus crisis, AG warns

Fraudsters are hoodwinking would-be renters with fake apartment listings using photos from real listings, capitalizing off of a rental market that has moved away from in-person showings amid the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s top law enforcement official warned.

“This scam is the rental market equivalent of catfishing, and while it’s not new, we want the public to be aware of the increased risks during the pandemic,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

Scammers solicit deposits from potential tenants in the “heartless” scheme, leaving them short on cash with no place to live, said Greater Boston Real Estate Board CEO Greg Vasil.

To avoid falling victim to this scam, officials recommend in-person inspections when possible, using a broker, secure payment apps and keeping an eye out for “red flags.”

More: Scammers are catfishing would-be renters out of their deposits amid coronavirus crisis, AG warns