A NUMBER of people have been conned out of money through accommodation fraud in Cork in recent weeks.
As families prepare for the start of the college year, many have paid deposits for rental accommodation.
However, a number of people have been duped into parting with money in a scam targeting third-level students. Losses range from €1,000 to €3,000.
A garda spokesperson said the scam is not as rampant this year as it has been in other years, because of uncertainty by families on whether to rent accommodation because of Covid-19.
The spokesperson said some of the recent cases in Cork have involved money being sent abroad in payment for accommodation in Cork.
The spokesperson added: "If you are renting an apartment in Cork, why would you be sending money to somewhere like Donegal or outside the jurisdiction?"
Threshold advises: "Never agree to rent a property through a website or social media. You need to visit the property and ensure it is a genuine let. You need to be happy with the property and the terms and conditions of the letting. Remember, scammers often copy photos, addresses and other information from various rental listings and then use this information to put up a fake listing.
"Never hand over cash, as cash is untraceable and be used immediately. Never transfer funds via Western Union, Moneybookers or other Electronic Fund Transfer services to someone claiming to be an agent or landlord for a prospective property. It is advisable to use an ESCROW account where possible to ensure funds are not released until you are certain that it is a legitimate transaction."
Meanwhile, Gardaí are warning people to be aware of a scam centred around a text message purporting to be from Bank of Ireland.
One Cork customer has lost €2,000 recently after responding to the text message, which came from a legitimate Bank of Ireland phone number.
Several incidents related to that scam have taken place across the country.
People are also warned to ignore emails asking them to purchase iTune vouchers and send back images of the scratched voucher, containing the code for the voucher.
Once the scammers receive the code, they can resell it and make money from the scam.