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Last updated: 6/29/16

Apartment scams

We work with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to educate consumers on many issues. Learn how to identify and avoid apartment scams online.

Follow these tips to spot fake landlords and avoid scams:

  • Make sure the landlord is who they say they are. You can search the apartment address in our database to see who the actual property owner is.
  • Never give money to someone unless you're sure they're the landlord or leasing agent.
  • Never use a wire transfer to pay for an apartment. You can't get your money back after a wire transfer.

Don't fill out an application unless you're certain it's real. Be cautious about giving out personal information, like your social security number and bank numbers.


Insist on seeing the apartment before you rent it. Scam listings usually have fake photos or photos stolen from an older listing. Keep an eye out for:

  • listings with unusually low rent
  • listings that say bad credit isn't a problem, and
  • offers to pay the security deposit in installments.

Look out for red flags, like grammatical errors and landlords who are “out of the country.” Don't hesitate to walk away from something that seems suspicious. Trust your instincts. If you feel you've been treated unfairly or tricked, call us at 617-635-3834.

Still have questions? Contact:
Consumer Affairs and Licensing
1 City Hall Square
Room 817
Boston, MA 02201-2039
United States