| 25.3°C Dublin

Warning over fake ads scam for student flat

Students are being warned to be vigilant when searching for accommodation as a number of fake ads have appeared online.

As the scramble to obtain accommodation is at its height, a number of students have been duped into handing over deposits for apartments that don't exist.

One ad in particular has appeared on a number of sites advertising an apartment for rent on Dublin's Fade Street for €500 per month, including bills.

However, the ad is fake and Greg O'Donoghue, Vice President for Welfare of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has warned students to be careful when apartment hunting.

"We spoke to an innocent woman who lives in the apartment that was advertised and she said that a number of young students have turned up at her door expecting to move in after paying the scam artist a €700 deposit," he said.

"If any students come across these scams, please report them to the gardaí."

One student told the Herald how he thought he got lucky when he spotted the apartment.

"I saw the ad and thought it was a great deal, especially as it was so close to DIT. I thought it might have been cheap because it's quite a noisy street," he said. "When I got there, no one answered and when I messaged the girl who created the ad, she didn't reply and then the ad was deleted.

"Luckily, I hadn't handed over any money but a guy who lived there said that students were constantly ringing the bell, looking to view apartments even though none were available."

The USI spokesman advises young people not to rent a place in a panic ahead of the college term.

"We urge all students looking for accommodation to do proper research and to go and see the place before signing anything," he said. "Don't sign anything that you don't understand and ask for advice."