A WOMAN was scammed out of over €1,700 while trying to rent a property she saw online, Clare gardaí have confirmed.
This is one of a number of economic frauds that have been reported to gardaí prompting Clare Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Triona Brooks to advise would-be renters to be alert for potential scams.
Sergeant Brooks said the woman saw a property to rent on Daft, and began a WhatsApp conversation with the person purporting to be the landlord.
“She was requested to pay €1,742 into his account which she did. This advertisement has since been removed from Daft and she can’t contact the landlord,” Sergeant Brooks explains.
The crime prevention officer urged, “Don’t be tricked into paying a deposit for a property that does not exist or has already been rented.”
She advised “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.”
Online maps can be used 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.”
She added, “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.”
Sergeant Brooks concluded, “Don’t be embarrassed if you have been scammed report it to your local Garda Station and contact your bank.”
Gardaí are also investigating after a man trying to sell a computer console was defrauded out of hundreds of euros.
The gentleman had placed a PlayStation for sale on Done Deal for €400. He was contacted by a buyer in Spain and requested to deposit €210 into a fake Paypal account in order to allow him to trade on-line.
He has had no contact from the buyer since and he has not received any funds.