Gardaí advises people to beware of rental scams, especially at this time of year when students are returning to college.
As housing frauds have declined in recent months due to Covid 19 restrictions, Gardaí stressed that the new generation of third-level students looking for housing could be a target for fraudsters.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Gardaí National Bureau of Economic Crime said potential tenants should only use recognized rental agencies or deal with people of good faith and trust.
“Websites can be cloned, check the URL to make sure it is a real website and take note of the privacy and refund policy sections,” he said. “It’s important to be wary of ads on social media or when someone leaving the location will only communicate through Messenger or Whatsapp.
“Never transfer money directly, pay cash, pay in cryptocurrency wallets. Beware if a website asks you to send money to a random PayPal address’
“You have to insist on straightforward answers and if the answers are vague, disengage immediately. Watch out for unsolicited contacts or places where the contact appears to be based in other jurisdictions and especially if there is a sense of urgency like “a one-time deal”.
“If you have decided to take the offer, only use trusted money transfer systems. I would recommend using a credit card,” he continued. “Never transfer money directly, pay cash, pay into cryptocurrency wallets. Beware if a website asks you to send money to a random PayPal address, transfer it to Western Union, to pay with iTunes gift cards or only cryptocurrency transactions.
“Most of the time, these methods are used to avoid scrutiny and to ensure that a transaction cannot be rolled back,” Superintendent Cryan concluded.