Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills Fiona O’Loughlin TD has urged students to be wary of rental scams.

Deputy O’Loughlin made the comments after she was contacted by a number of students who have highlighted that they were targeted by scammers in recent days.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “There is a huge number of students looking for accommodation now that the first round of CAO offers have been made. It’s an extremely difficult rental market for students to find adequate accommodation and scammers are well aware of this fact. Students need to be cautious and ensure they take the necessary precautions when searching for accommodation.

“I have been contacted by a number of students in recent days who have outlined how they have fallen foul of rental scams. In one instance a student was defrauded of €550 when a scammer posing as a landlord requested a deposit for accommodation which did not exist. This was an elaborate scam which involved fake feedback from previous tenants and a management agent. Similar stories are emerging right across the country.

“An Garda Síochána has been proactive in highlighting the threat posed by rental scammers. They have pointed out that the number of rental scammers peaks at this time of year when unsuspecting students are frantically searching for accommodation. The Gardaí have put up a comprehensive guideline on their website which outlines what steps students should take to prevent them from falling victim to rental scammers.

“I urge students and parents to be vigilant as they search for accommodation. People should always meet a prospective landlord in person in the accommodation to be rented. They should also request identification and use cheques or bank drafts to pay deposits and keep copies of receipts and payments and any correspondence,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.