There has been a 65% increase in accommodation scams in the last four years, according to gardaí, and college students are being warned about this increase in rental scams ahead of their return to campus.
‘The Scamwatch campaign’, which is a joint initiative from housing charity Threshold and the Irish Council for International Students and the Union of Students in Ireland, sets out to highlight the ‘dos and don’ts’ of finding accommodation, where to get advice about tenancy rights in the private sector and safeguards to avoid scams.
Students are being targeted by scams where people pose as landlords offering accommodation that may not exist and the scammers are also using social media, false websites and even websites that appear as replicas of real letting platforms to target students.
Threshold has advised students to try and view a property in person, be aware of offers that sound suspicious, such as exceptionally low rent, and be aware if the landlord is requesting money to be lodged to a foreign bank account.
The Union of Students in Ireland urged students to contact them for help and said any victims of scams should report this to the gardaí.