An online scam becoming more common in the Western U.S. is rental fraud, the Missoulian reports. The crime occurs after potential apartment renters send money to con artists for tenancy. They're never asked to undergo a background check
and the phony landlord typically wants the rent money to be wired. The victims later learn that the place never existed.
Zan Deery, lead regional investigator for the Better Business Bureau, tells the media outlet that these types of scams have increased in the area over the past two years, primarily because the economy has forced many families to move in order to find new jobs. In addition, students in college towns become easy targets for scammers during the summer months. "The only reason why it grows is because it works," said Bruno Friia, chief executive officer at Lambros ERA Realtors. "I get these Nigerian schemes all the time. Who in the world will fall for something like this?" Clark Porter, apartment owner and manager in Potsdam, New York, tells the Watertown Daily Gazette that many college students become victims of scammers because they're more likely to rush into a situation without performing due diligence.