Thank you for your question Brooke:
Yes as Sheryl pointed out there are a number of rental scams that are designed either to steal your Identity or steal your deposit money.
These rental scams use ads for properties to rent at ridiculously low rents. When people call on the advertisement they often give up enough information about themselves that their identification can be stolen, or they send in a deposit for the property for rent.
The best protection against this scam is to make certain that the person that you are dealing with has a California Real Estate License. I recommend that when you call on one of these advertisements, that you ask the person for their real estate license number. Then contact the California Department of Real Estate at www.dre.ca.gov Click on the line that says "verify license" Type in the license number and see if it is a valid current license number and who it belongs to.
If the person that you are talking to does not have a valid California real estate license, it is probably a scam designed to steal your identity or your deposit money..
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org