Rental scam targets students

 

A chara, – I recently encountered a scam that requires highlighting. The demand for accommodation in towns and cities that house third-level institutions has left parents, desperate for suitable accommodation for their children commencing their college life, vulnerable to this scam. Criminals have started to advertise accommodation online that they don’t own or have no right to. They upload a picture of the accommodation with the proper address and advertise it as being available to rent without the consent or desire of the homeowner.

Unsuspecting clients make contact with whom they perceive as the landlord. They are asked to pay the standard deposit and one month rent up-front. They even receive a contract and are give a bank account (typically abroad) in which to transfer the money. Only when it is too late do the victims realise that the accommodation was never available to rent. One family I know were caught for €950. Scams such as this are becoming more sophisticated and punitive on the unsuspecting public. – Yours, etc,

JOHN CONNOLLY,

Rahoon, Galway.