Going to, or returning to, college is an exciting time for students, however, it is also an opportunistic time for fraudsters who try to trick students out of their money. Many cases have been reported to FraudSMART where deposits have been handed over for properties that don’t exist, have been rented to multiple tenants already or even cases where fraudsters have hired properties to use for viewings to trick you into handing over the deposit.
Our advice to students and parents is:
1. Familiarise yourself with the average rent price in your search area. If the rent is unusually low and it seems too good to be true, it usually is!
2. Technology is your friend. We recommend students use online maps to double-check that the property being advertised actually exists and is at the stated address.
3. Check short-term rental sites to ensure the property is not being used by a fraudster for “viewings” who will take your deposit money.
4. It is crucial to keep copies of all correspondence between you and the advertiser, including bank details and the advertisement itself. The best approach is to use legitimate well-known rental agencies. If this is not possible, don’t hand over any money until you have seen the property and are happy with its condition.
5. Don’t make payments until you have been given the keys and signed the rental contract.
6. Always check that the keys fit in the lock.
7. Remember, don’t transfer any money unless you have carried out all the relevant checks and you are absolutely sure that the listing is genuine.
8. Don’t be embarrassed if you have been scammed. Report it to your local Garda Station and contact your bank.
Remember! If it seems too good to be true it probably is.