AUDIO: Joe Duffy catches rent scammer live on air

Joe Duffy
Joe Duffy

Liveline’s Joe Duffy went undercover on air today as he laid his sights on a rent scammer who claimed to own properties in Dublin.

Duffy called a man calling himself ‘Lloyd Wicker’, posing as a potential tenant’s father who was looking to secure rental accommodation for his daughter.

Wicker and his partner ‘Martha’ claimed to be an old Dublin couple who moved to London to work in the Red Cross’s ‘Mission for seniors’.

They told the RTE presenter that they were renting out their property in the popular area of Stonybatter in Dublin 7.

“I want to pay (my daughter’s) deposit because as you know accommodation is really, really tight in Dublin. The place looks lovely by the way, fair play,” said Joe

Wicker told Joe that they organise viewing through Trip Advisor as they were tied of tenants not showing up.

“On the third time we were fed up and said let’s use Trip Advisor, it’s a high fee to use their service. They basically work as an agency that you have to book through and one of the agents will show up and show the house.”

The UK based rent scammer then demanded payment upfront before viewing the property.

“When viewing, if she doesn’t like the house for any reason she can be refunded on the spot by agents," he told Wicker.

“If she likes it we’ll fly there the following day she can move in and we can sign the rental contract.”

“Based on the agreement with Trip Advisor we’d need two month’s rent, one month living and one month deposit,” said Wicker.

“So that’s €2,400?” replied Joe.

Suspecting that Wicker had never been to Dublin, Joe began to probe his knowledge of the capital.

“I know Stoneybatter well. You moved to London from Oxmantown did you?” Joe quizzed.

“Yeah we moved from there some time ago,” said Wicker.

When asked what buses go from Oxmantown Green, Joe was met with utter silence.

“We will send you the exact address and she can look it up.”

“Sure there’s a dart station in Oxmantown,” joked Joe.

“Yeah,” said Wicker without a notion.

Wicker asked Joe to make a decision and get back to him within the hour.

“She’s working in St. Vincent’s hospital which is over on the south side but she’s been offered a transfer to Blanchardstown Hospital which is right beside Oxmantown Green as you know. The big complex in Oxmantown beside the Dart station,” Joe continued, hoping to catch him out.

To which the baffled scammer replied: “yeah”, before assuring the broadcaster that if he paid through Trip Advisor he would be “guaranteed tenancy”.

Joe replied: “There’s no dart station in Oxmantown, Blanchardstown is about 10 mile from Stoneybatter. You don’t own this property.”

“You’ve never been to Dublin,” said Joe.

“Yeah,” said Wicker who promptly hung up before he could be quizzed about the property in Leopardstown where he scammed over €4,000 out of UCD students.