Searching for the perfect home, for the right price, in a good location, can be incredibly stressful. But when you find that home, it all feels worth it. However, what if the home is “too good to be true,” and doesn’t actually exist?

When searching for a rental property, it’s important to realize that there are plenty of rental scammers out there, who only want to take your money. In fact, a recent survey found that 5.2 million renters in the United States have been the victim of a rental scam. Here are 10 common rental scams, with advice on how to avoid them.

The Scam: The “Landlord” Isn’t Actually the Landlord

A common rental scammer tactic is to show a property that isn’t theirs to show. The fake landlord may claim they’re “helping someone else” rent the property. But after collecting your deposit and first and last month’s rent, you never hear from them again. You also don’t have a place to live.

How to Avoid:

Always verify who owns and manages any property you’re interested in. This information is often public record and can be verified with your local municipality. If you’re not dealing directly with the property owner, make sure the person you’re dealing with has a legitimate connection to the owner.

The Scam: The Property Doesn’t Actually Exist

When searching for a property, you might come across a listing that sounds too good to be true. That’s because a common rental scam is to list a property that doesn’t exist. The scammer may try to lure you into sending a security deposit without seeing the property first, by offering a reduced rent.

How to Avoid:

Verify the address listing on Google Street View. If the address doesn’t exist, it’s a red flag. If the listing doesn’t have an address with it, that’s an even bigger red flag. Always attempt to verify that a property exists and insist on seeing it in person.

The Scam: Multiple People Are Interested in This Property

A tactic that a rental scammer may use is telling a potential property renter that “many people are interested” in the property. They’re just trying to get your deposit money; and could be collecting deposits from many people, while telling everyone the same lie.

How to Avoid:

Don’t feel pressured to send money without taking your time to fully examine a property and sign a lease. If there truly are multiple people interested, you’re under no obligation to pay a deposit for a property that could be rented by someone else.

The Scam: Bait & Switch, Part 1

Another common rental scam involves the owner posting false information about a property they do own. However, when you arrive for a showing, the place is nothing like the online description.

How to Avoid:

After doing your homework, make sure to visit the property in person to make sure it’s everything you’re expecting. If at all possible, never rent a property without seeing it first.

The Scam: Bait & Switch, Part 2

The property is “as advertised,” and you’re ready to sign a lease, but suddenly, there are changes in the rental terms. This can be a different monthly rent or other fine print in the lease agreement that was not previously discussed or agreed to.

How to Avoid:

Always read your lease agreement carefully and bring up any terms with your landlord that are different than what was previously discussed. It could be a simple oversight, or it could be a more sinister rental scam tactic.

The Scam: Money Up Front

Some rental scammers will request money, or worse, personal information, like your Social Security number or bank information, just to view a property. This should raise a red flag.

How to Avoid:

You should never have to pay a fee or give private financial information to view a property. Once you’ve met the landlord or property manager and feel good with the rental, you should feel comfortable providing your personal information for a routine background check.

The Scam: Communicating Exclusively “Online”

In the digital age, it’s very easy to communicate via email or text message. That said, rental scammers may be hiding behind an email address or phone number, especially if they’re asking for money to be sent online or via wire transfer.

How to Avoid:

Deal in person with a reputable landlord, rather than via email or text message. A phone call can be great to get things started, but it’s important to have face-to-face contact with the person or people you are renting from.

The Scam: No Paperwork

When renting a property, there is almost always some sort of rental agreement. If the landlord has an excuse as to why there is no paperwork or wants some sort of verbal agreement, you may want to reconsider that particular rental.

How to Avoid:

Paperwork. Paperwork. Paperwork. If there is a dispute of the contracted terms, a verbal agreement will do a renter no good. Having a paper trail of signed documentation is the best protection possible, and all reputable landlords and property management companies will have some sort of written documentation.

The Scam: Not Being Able to Speak to Current Renters

If the property you’re looking to rent is currently occupied, you may want to ask the landlord to see if you can speak with the current renters. While this obviously is dependent on whether the property is currently occupied, it might raise a red flag if the landlord will not let you speak to current renters.

How to Avoid:

Current tenants could be a valuable resource about the area, the property, and their working relationship with the landlord or property management company. Is there good communication with tenants? If an appliance breaks, do they act quickly to fix the problem? Property managers who go the extra mile and have good working relationships with their tenants should have no problem with you speaking to current renters.

The Scam: Craigslist

Any number of the above rental scams could happen on Craigslist or other similar online classified sections. The relative anonymity of Craigslist is a major benefit for rental scammers. They don’t even have to include their real personal information when submitting a listing.

How to Avoid:

When at all possible, deal in person with a reputable property management company or landlord. They know their market, they’re legitimate, and most importantly, their reputations are at stake. They will want to continue to maintain that with each new renter they sign.