Picture this: You’re hunting for an apartment and finally see an online listing in your price range that sparks your interest. You contact the property manager, file an application, and maybe even visit the property. But after you send them a security deposit and the first month’s rent, things take a turn.

Maybe you’re told that you can’t move in unless you send several hundred dollars for urgent repairs to the apartment. Or maybe the supposed owner sends you a digital key code, but it won’t unlock the door. Or maybe you pay over $1,000 for a week’s accommodations at a hot vacation spot only to find, when you get there, that the property you thought you had rented was never actually up for rental and is in fact a private residence.

All three of these situations are classic rental scams that have already happened to would-be renters in 2022 and were reported to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker. In a rental scam, someone misrepresents themselves as a property owner or tenant, or lies about the availability and terms of a real property. It’s more common than you might think—more than 11,500 people reported being victims of online real estate or rental scams in 2021, according to the latest FBI data. Collectively, the victims lost more than $350 million.

To discover just how prevalent these scams are across the country, Palm Paradise Real Estate examined data from the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker to see which states have reported the most cases of rental fraud so far in 2022. Rankings were determined by the number of reports filed in each state per 1 million residents, rounded to the nearest whole number. From Jan. 1 to Sept. 15, 2022, 305 people reported rental scams in the U.S.

Some areas with especially hot housing markets, like Boise, Idaho or Phoenix, are particularly susceptible to con artists trying to make a quick buck off of desperate renters. Vacation homes aren’t immune from the problem, either; Hawaiian real estate companies and realtors have been plagued by the fallout from yearslong scams targeting travelers. Read on to find out which 18 states have the highest rate of reported scams.
 

Scenic view of Phoenix Arizona
Gregory E. Clifford // Shutterstock

#18. Arizona

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 0.96

Elevated view of Florida coastal scene
Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

#17. Florida

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 0.96

Elevated city view of Birmingham Alabama
BJ Ray // Shutterstock

#16. Alabama

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 0.99

Aerial view of Topeka Kansas with statehouse
Real Window Creative // Shutterstock

#15. Kansas

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.02

Aerial view of Annapolis with statehouse
Real Window Creative // Shutterstock

#14. Maryland

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.14

Aerial view of Grand Forks North Dakota
Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#13. North Dakota

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.29

Downtown Charleston South Carolina
Susanne Pommer

#12. South Carolina

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.35

Harbor in Juneau, Alaska
Ramunas Bruzas // Shutterstock

#11. Alaska

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.36

Elevated view of Asheville, North Carolina and surrounding mountains
Derek Olson Photography // Shutterstock

#10. North Carolina

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.42

Downtown Nashville in autumn
Brian Wilson Photography // Shutterstock

#9. Tennessee

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.43

Denver Colorado cityscape
Studio 1One // Shutterstock

#8. Colorado

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.55

Aerial view of Jackson Square with Saint Louis Cathedral church
Trong Nguyen // Shutterstock

#7. Louisiana

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.73

Providence Rhode Island cityscape
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#6. Rhode Island

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.83

Elevated view of Albuquerque residential suburbs
turtix // Shutterstock

#5. New Mexico

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.89

Downtown Minneapolis overlooking Mississippi River
ostreetphotography // Shutterstock

#4. Minnesota

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 1.93

Kansas City, Missouri downtown with Union Station
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#3. Missouri

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 2.43

Honolulu Hawaii city view
MNStudio // Shutterstock

#2. Hawaii

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 2.77

Boise Idaho skyline in autumn
Charles Knowles // Shutterstock

#1. Idaho

– Reported scams per 1 million people: 3.68

This story originally appeared on Palm Paradise Real Estate and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.