Kilkenny warned: Look out, there’s a scammer about
Online shoppers are advised to:
*Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address;
*Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary;
*Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts;
*Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is;
*Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with or websites associated with high street retail outlets;
Gardaí are also advising people in Kilkenny to be wary of rental scams after receiving a number of complaints of accommodation fraud where a substantial amount of money was lost.
In the latest case, a potential buyer viewed a house online and transferred a deposit and a months’ rent to a bank account. The landlord indicated that the money would be refunded if the customer was not satisfied on viewing the property. The landlord can no longer be contacted.
Gardaí say property scams generally 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 scammer 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.
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.
Ideally you should only do business with established, genuine rental agencies and always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented. You should pay a deposit to the landlord only and use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit.