Gardai say a number of people have lost money after they were duped
GARDAI are warning anybody seeking accommodation - particularly students - to exercise caution when dealing with prospective landlords.
A number of people, including some in Limerick, have already been tricked out of a lot of money because of their desperation in trying to find somewhere to live.
"This escalates in September when students are offered courses and accommodation is needed in a specific area for a specific time and price," said divisional crime prevention officer Sergeant Ber Leetch.
Would-be tenants are being urged to watch out if the rent seems too good to be true or if the advertisement contains grammar or spelling mistakes and is only on social media.
There has been an increase of 30% in accommodation fraud in 2022, in comparison with 2019.— Garda Info (@gardainfo) August 31, 2022
We are advising people to be wary of rental scams, particularly at this time of year when students are returning to college.
For more information please see: https://t.co/c3y98Ffjnu pic.twitter.com/3v1ppiWovx
Caution is also advised if all communication is only via WhatsApp or social media and if the 'property owner' says they are away and cannot meet in person to show the accommodation.
Requests for payment in cash or by wire transfer, iTunes gift cards or cryptocurrency should also raise a concern.
"Only use recognised letting agencies and real websites; check and verify the IBAN of the property owner’s account and make sure the property exists by visiting the property," said Sgt Leetch who is also encouraging people to check that the property owner is registered with the Residential Tenancies Board.
"I know people can be embarrassed or reluctant to report accommodation fraud but while it may not shut the criminals down entirely it could help ensure another person is not caught out," she said.
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