BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) is warning residents not to fall victim to rental scams, which the agency says are on the rise.

According to BCSO, the scammers post online advertising properties that they do not actually own for prices well below market value. Prospective renters are convinced to secure the deal by sending a security deposit, site unseen. Then, the scammers disappear.

In reality, the properties are owned by someone else, and often occupied.

To prevent being scammed, BCSO recommends people in the market for a rental property do the following:

  • Visit the property with a landlord or realtor
  • Ask for references or landlord reviews
  • Don’t send money without verifying information