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COLUMBUS -- Ohio's attorney general is urging residents to be wary of rental property scams.

Attorney General Mike DeWine says his office has received more than a dozen reports since January. Ohioans have reported losing an average of about $1,000 to the scams.

DeWine says con artists hijack legitimate ads showing houses for sale and re-post them as houses for rent. They then persuade people to send money for the deposit or first month's rent.

Scammers may say they have to leave the country quickly and tell potential renters to send money through wire transfers.Landlords also should watch for overpayment scams where con artists pose as potential tenants.

They send counterfeit checks for more than the asking price of the deposit or rent, asking landlords to return the difference.