Gardaí have reissued advice about how to avoid rental scams as people keep getting conned.
A French student looking for a place to live in Dublin was recently tricked out of €1,800 by someone who advertised a room that did not exist.
Antone viewed the property online and transferred a deposit and two months’ worth of rent. However, upon arrival he found out he had been scammed as no room was available in the property.
Other students, desperate for a place to live, have had similar experiences and Gardaí have issued a guide in response:
“If the landlord is not in a position to meet up with you to show you the property in person, if all the accommodation is happening on a social media platform or text or WhatsApp - watch out for that,” Newstalk’s tech correspondent Jess Kelly explained to Newstalk Breakfast.
“And the other point as well that people need to be mindful of is cloned websites because you could see a link for a property, it could well look legitimate but certain things like obvious typos, images that look too good to be true - so they could be taken from rental properties in France, Italy or elsewhere in the world but purport to be in Ireland.
“So just be eyes wide open when it comes to this sort of offering.”
Currently it is hard to verify with absolute certainty the veracity of an ad on a property website but Jess says many scams can be found out with one handy trick:
“One thing that I always recommend that people do is if you learn how to reverse Google search an image - just to try and verify that properties are where they say they are.
“As the Gardaí say, don’t do all your communication via text, WhatsApp or social media platforms. Try and go in and meet the person, see the property, verify that the keys work and don’t transfer any money until you have all of your ducks in a row.”
Gardaí also recommend asking to take a photo of a landlord’s driver’s license or passport and that copies of all correspondence should be kept.
Main image: A build-to-rent development in Dublin. Picture by: RollingNews