For Whistler's workers, it's hard enough to find a place to live in at the expensive resort. Now scam artists are making it worse by trying to rip off renters.

Pete Rosser should know. Sleeping on a friend's couch, Rosser is scanning the local newspapers and searching online listings in the search for his own accommodation.

He is seeing more and more offers like "Beautiful apartment right in the heart of Whistler for $700" which is cheap, even for nearby Squamish at the moment.

Advertisements like this, which appeared in Craigslist, offer a special rate to anyone who will care for their Whistler property while the owner is away. They are usually a scam.

"I would say that within the last four or five days they've doubled or tripled in number," said Rosser.

"It's like, wow, I'm so lucky. I feel so blessed. You know, I'm going to get this wonderful pad and then all of a sudden the penny drops and you're, like, damn!"

What is the obvious tip-off in this case is that the "owner" wants two months' rent paid in advance of Rosser or any other prospective tenant receiving keys.

Whistler RCMP advises people against paying out any money, knowing that desperate people are more likely to take that kind of chance in a housing crisis like the one Whistler is experiencing.

"It just makes them more vulnerable," said Sgt. Steve Leclair.

Among the listings CTV looked into was for a property Rosser applied for. When he asked for proof of ownership, he was e-mailed a certificate that listed the address but no unit number. It could have meant that the person owned the entire complex, but Rosser felt this was unlikely.

He decided not to rent from them, and remains despondent.

"No ski resort I've ever lived at has ever been this tough to get accommodation," he said.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Sarah Galashan