Renters duped out of €20k in Cork city by scammers

Renters duped out of €20k in Cork city by scammers

Gardaí are investigating close to 20 reports which have been made since January 1 about being people scammed in relation to rented accommodation.

PEOPLE looking to find a home in the rental market have been duped out of €20,000 in Cork City so far this year in scams.

Gardaí are investigating close to 20 reports which have been made since January 1 about being people scammed in relation to rented accommodation.

In some cases, victims have been committed to renting a property that they only saw during a virtual tour.

Because of Covid-19, virtual tours of properties have been popular because of social distancing and other public health restrictions.

However, a garda spokesman said that virtual tours have also given scammers a chance to exploit would-be renters.

He said: “Some are given virtual tours of a property and they are asked to pay a deposit and a month’s rent in advance.”

In such cases, the would-be renter is sent a key for the property but it does not work when the person tries to open the door.

In other cases, the scammer claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the property and requests a deposit.

In another version of accommodation fraud, the scammer is living at the property and shows a number of people around, gets a deposit from several people and disappears with the money.

Gardaí said that people in the rental market need to establish for sure that the property they are interested in actually exists and is up for rent.

They also advise: 

  • Ideally only do business with established bona fide rental agencies.
  • Always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.
  • Ask for identification, a driver’s licence or Photo identification of landlord or letting agent. etc. (Take a photo of the document on your phone) 
  • Pay the deposit to the landlord and not the persons leaving the property, or some other person 
  • Use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit and keep copies of receipts of payments and any correspondence.
  • Ensure keys fit, open door lock and sign rental contract, prior to payment of deposit.

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