Experts say you should always pay through traditional methods such as a check rather than making payments through Venmo or Zelle.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Renters can appreciate even the small victories.
The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Fresno has dropped 4.2% from a year ago.
"We're actually seeing rents ease a little bit over the last year in Fresno, which I'm sure is welcomed by renters," says Dwellsy CEO Jonas Bordo. "One-bedroom apartments, which we track as kind of the benchmark for apartments, we see median prices at $1,289."
Bordo says a survey of renters revealed 22% of them had been defrauded at some point and they lost $3,000 on average.
He wrote a book to help renters look out for red flags.
"Everything seems perfectly normal with the exception of maybe it's hard to tour, you can't get into the place, maybe the person doesn't want to talk on the phone," he said. "In the worst case scenario, you give them your first and last month's rent and you never hear from them again. Or even worse, you back up a truck to move in and find out you don't have a lease on that place."
Bordo says it's important to search trusted sources for rentals. He advises you stay away from Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
Make sure you see the property and meet the landlord in person.
"That is the single biggest thing you can do to prevent fraud," Bordo said. "Most of these fraudsters are not based in your area. They're not in Fresno. They're somewhere else trying to defraud you."
Bordo adds you should always pay through traditional methods such as a check rather than making payments through Venmo or Zelle.
Both of those methods offer one-way payment.
If fraud is discovered, you can't get your money back without the cooperation of the recipient.