Gardaí had reissued an appeal to the public to be extra vigilant following recent reports of accommodation fraud.
Crime Prevention Officer for Clare Sergeant Triona Brooks outlined the circumstances of a recent incident.
“We had a report during the week from a lady who paid a substantial sum of money to a Spanish bank account on the presumption that this was a deposit for renting a house in Co. Tipperary but unfortunately no address matches the one given on the advertisement,” Sgt Brooks said.
Gardaí have issued the following advice:
If you are looking to rent a property what should you do?
Don’t be tricked into paying a deposit for a property that does not exist or has already been rented, often to multiple people.
Do your homework – look at the average rent price in the area and if the rent is unusually low and it seems too good to be true it usually is.
Use online maps to double check that the property being advertised actually exists and is at the stated address.
Keep copies of all correspondence between yourself and the advertiser, including bank details and the advertisement itself.
Use legitimate well-known rental agencies where possible.
Don’t hand over any money until you have seen the property and are happy with its condition. Once satisfied use a cheque or bank draft to pay the deposit.
Is there anything else you should do?
Don’t make any payments until you have been given the keys and signed the rental contract. Always check that the keys fit in the lock.
Don’t transfer money unless you have carried out all the relevant checks and you are absolutely sure that the listing is genuine.
Don’t be embarrassed if you have been scammed report it to your local Garda Station and contact your bank.