Rent scam: Warning for students ahead of new term – – Our News, Your Views

Rent scam: Warning for students ahead of new term

Students are being warned of the prevalence of rental scams before returning to campus next month.

The charity Threshold has joined the Irish Council for International Students and the Irish Students’ Union in the so-called “The ScamWatch Campaign”.

The strategy highlights the do’s and don’ts of finding a home, where you can get advice on tenants’ rights in the private sector and safeguards against fraud.

Students are the target of scams where people claiming to be owners offer accommodation that may be misleading or non-existent.

Fake websites are becoming more common, as well as websites that appear to be replicas of real rental platforms.

Scammers are also using social media to target students.

The Irish Council for International Students says international students are often at a higher risk of being scammed, with a survey last year showing that one in seven international students fell victim to such scams.

According to the gardai, the number of housing scams has increased by 65% in the last four years, reports RTE.

Laura Harmon, executive director of the Irish Council for International Students, told Morning Ireland RTÉ that international students who come to study in Ireland are particularly affected.

Ms Harmon said: “There are scammers out there trying to take advantage of people. Our advice is to view the property in person, get the agent’s ID and sign a written contract in the presence of another person,” reports RTE.

“That shouldn’t be the key worry for people and there needs to be a solution, it’s a supply and demand situation, we need more purpose student accommodation built so we can meet that demand,” she said, reports RTE.

She added: “This is happening because the Government has failed to take action and address the housing crisis despite clear and repeated warnings from students and people across the further and higher education sector. I am deeply concerned by reports of students being scammed hundreds and even thousands of euros when they attempt to secure accommodation. Government must act urgently to protect students and tackle the underlying issues around the lack of housing supply,” reports RTE.

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