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”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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