How can I protect against rental scams?

I'm looking for housing in the bay area for this summer and I know there's a lot of scammers in the housing market. I'm in a difficult situation because I will not be able to tour the place before I'm already there. Are there any precautions I can take from a legal stand point? Can I take advantage of a law that requires the owner to verify/identify themself, or present proof of ownership etc. I'm also concerned about payment and am not entirely sure how this is usually done. Obviously cashiers checks, money orders, wire transfers are not the way to go but how can I assure my payment is valid? Thanks everyone, I know this is not the most law based advice.

submitted by /u/CryptoToucan

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