You must be very careful when calling a number from a sign placed on the side of the road advertising a home for rent also from social networks such as Craigslist. Some of the signs to look for that you might be getting scammed are the person renting the home does not have an office or a business card or is not affiliated with a legitimate real estate company. They will ask for cash and do not want to take a check.
The way the scam works is the so-called agents have usually broken into a foreclosed home change the locks and have made up a bogus lease with the properties address. Before you give a cash deposit and one month's rent up front be sure to do your homework check out these people through the Better Business Bureau or the local police dept. to see if they are legitimate real estate people. It just takes a little research on your part. This could save you a lot of money and stress. . That is why it is so important when dealing in any matters concerning real estate that you go through a reputable agent or company.