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Students need to be wary of rental scams

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Students attempting to source accommodation overseas for the summer and the start of college in the autumn are being advised by An Garda Síochána to be alert of rental scams.

Sergeant Triona O’Rourke told The Clare Echo that students need to be careful they don’t pay a deposit for a property that does not exist or has already been rented to multiple people.

Offering her advice to students beginning to search for accommodation for upcoming J1s and a return to college in September, O’Rourke said, “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. Use online maps 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”.

O’Rourke highlighted that anyone scammed should not be embarrassed to report the offence to the Gardaí. “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. Don’t be embarrassed if you have been scammed Report it to your local Garda Station and contact your bank”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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