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Renter beware Gardaí warn of rental scams as almost €1m stolen from victims over last year

Almost 1 million euro stolen from unsuspecting victims since February 2019

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New warnings have been issued regarding rental scams

New warnings have been issued regarding rental scams

New warnings have been issued regarding rental scams

Gardaí have issued a warning regarding rental scams as they revealed how almost 1 million euro was stolen from unsuspecting victims since February 2019. 

With college students preparing to return to college, gardai have highlighted the fact that a huge percentage of those who have fallen for rental scam in previous years have been under the age of 25.

Gardai said that while incidents have been declining in the last 18 months with Covid-19 restrictions the likely cause there was still reason tom be cautious.

Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Gardaí National Economic Crime Bureau said only recognised letting agencies or “bona fide” people should be trusted.

“Websites can be cloned, check the URL to ensure it’s a real website and take note of the privacy and refund policy sections,” he advised.

“Be very wary of social media advertisements or where a person letting the location will only communicate via messenger or WhatsApp. You should push for direct answers and if responses are vague disengage immediately.

“Watch out for unsolicited contacts or where the contact appears to be based in other jurisdictions and especially if there is a sense of urgency like a one-time offer.”

Detective Cryan added: “If you have decided to take up the offer only use trusted money transfer systems, I would recommend using a credit card. Never transfer money direct, pay cash, pay into cryptocurrency wallets.

“Be wary if a website is asking you to send money to a random PayPal address, wire it by Western Union, pay in iTunes gift cards or only deals in cryptocurrency. The majority of the time, those methods are done to avoid scrutiny and ensure that a transaction can’t be reversed.”

There were a total of 503 cases of rental scams reported between February 1 2019 and May 31.

Almost half of these incidents occurred in the Dublin Region with just over €900,000 stolen in rental scams over this period.

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Some 42 per cent of all injured parties were under the age of 25, while 72 per cent were under the age of 35.

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