Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, has urged students to be wary of rental scams.
Deputy Troy made the comments after he was contacted by a number of students who have highlighted that they were targeted by scammers in recent days.
“There are a huge number of students looking for accommodation now that the first round of CAO offers has been made,” Deputy Troy said. “It’s an extremely difficult rental market for students to find adequate accommodation, and scammers are well aware of this fact. Students need to be cautious and ensure they take the necessary precautions when searching for accommodation.
“I have been contacted by a number of students in recent days who have outlined how they have fallen foul of rental scams. I have also been informed of an instance in which a student was defrauded of €550 when a scammer posing as a landlord requested a deposit for accommodation which did not exist. This was an elaborate scam which involved fake feedback from previous tenants and a management agent. Similar stories are emerging right across the country.”
Deputy Troy added that the Gardaí have been proactive in highlighting the threat posed by rental scammers. They have pointed out that the number of rental scammers peaks at this time of year when unsuspecting students are frantically searching for accommodation. The Gardaí have put up a comprehensive guideline on their website which outlines what steps students should take to prevent them from falling victim to rental scammers.
“I urge students and parents to be vigilant as they search for accommodation. People should always meet a prospective landlord in person in the accommodation to be rented. They should also request identification and use cheques or bank drafts to pay deposits and keep copies of receipts and payments and any correspondence,” Deputy Troy concluded.