The scam: An apartment in a super-hot building becomes available at a great price. The catch? Your “agent” tells you that it’s not officially on the market, so you can see it only via photos and a drive-by. Eager to nab a deal, you wire deposit money—and suddenly, when it’s time for the key exchange, he’s no longer answering his phone, because he never had the keys—or the listing.
How to Avoid It: Obviously, don’t rent or buy a place without touring it first. But even more important, check out your agent carefully, get references, and visit his or her office.