Fake landlords scamming desperate local home hunters in countdown to Christmas
Kilkenny gardai have urged home hunters to be vigilant of fake landlords who have scammed victims out of “a substantial amount of money”.
In the latest case an unsuspecting victim viewed a house online and transferred a deposit and a months’ rent intoa bank account.
The ‘landlord’ had told the person the money would be refunded if they were not satisfied on viewing the property.
However, the landlord has since disappeared and the viictim is no longer able to reach them.
Gardai warn the accommodation scams generall fall into three categories:
- The scammer claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the property and requests a deposit;
- The fraudster is living at the property and shows a number of people around, gets a deposit from several people and disappears with the money;
- The transaction appears normal until the renter finds the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared.
A Garda spokesperson said: “People need to establish that the house exists and that it is available for rent and the identity of the landlord/agent and that they have the authority to rent the property.”
Gardai have urged people looking to rent a property in Kilkenny and the south east to:
- Ideally only do business with established bonafide rental agencies;
- Always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented;
- Ask for identification – take a photo of ID on your phone;
- Pay the deposit to the landlord only;
- Use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit, keep copies of receipts of payment and any correspondence;
- Ensure keys fit, open door lock and sign rental contract, prior to payment of deposit.