March is upon us and people, particularly students, will be on the look out for potential places to live for the next academic year.
Getting accommodation in Galway has never been more competitive and, unfortunately, there are those who seek to take advantage of those in desperate need of a roof over their heads to make a sly buck or two.
Here at the advertiser.ie we highlight important tips on how to spot a scam ad for rental accommodation.
1 Living in another country
If the supposed landlord is living in another country then chances are the rental accommodation does not exist. The ad will probably talk about how the person lived in Ireland for five years but got married and headed back home to raise his/her children and how money is not everything. It is likely that they will ask you to transfer money via wire transfer and the keys are yours. Do not do it.
2 Wire Transfer
As mentioned above, wire transfer via Western Union or Electric Fund Services is always dodgy when dealing with landlords. Scammers want your money and will use reasons why they must deal with you remotely.
3 Bad Grammar
Funnily enough, scammers who are crafty enough to try and steal people's money, generally cannot spell to save their lives. A poorly worded ad should raise eyebrows and suspicions.
4 Meet and greet
You make contact with the landlord and he/she agrees to meet you and hand over the keys, if you provide over a month's rent or two in advance. What happens when you attempt to get into the accommodation is that the keys will not work. Sometimes other tenants show up and their keys will not work either.
5 Sob stories
Any landlord that says they are unable to meet you because of a family bereavement should be treated cautiously especially if they ask for a month's rent in advance. Always meet your landlord in person or a reputable estate agent before considering handing over money.
So there are a few tips on how to stay safe from scammers. If you think you are a victim of an online scam, contact An Garda Síochána .
To find hundreds of properties to let and buy visit http://classifieds.advertiser.ie/property/