ALBANY — Residents are being alerted to real estate and rental scams by the New York State Department of State and the Division of Consumer Protection.

The scammers work to steal prospective tenants’ money when they are looking to rent a home or an apartment.

Rental scams are executed by criminals in a variety of ways, but the goal is the same: bilk potential tenants out of as much money as possible, state officials said. According to Federal Trade Commission rental fraud data, New Yorkers claimed losses of over $1.7 million during the last three years.

“Shopping for a rental home or apartment can be a stressful, expensive and time-consuming process, especially with scammers actively trying to take advantage of New Yorkers,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado in a news release. “I encourage New Yorkers who are looking for a rental property to follow basic tips to avoid losing their hard-earned money through deceptive practices.”

An emerging real estate scam involves scammers who fraudulently impersonate the identity of a licensed real estate professional, and present the real estate professional’s license as their own.

The scammer then attempts to “rent” a property that isn’t theirs to one or more potential tenants — sight unseen — making off with security deposits, first month’s rent or prepaid rent.

The scammers take…

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