International students are among the main victims of scams and fraud in Ireland. According to ICOS (Irish Council for International Students), many criminals use visa and search for apartments like context to deceive foreigners, resulting in losses and many inconveniences. Learn how to protect yourself and how to avoid this type of situation.
There are several records of students who receive calls from an individual who claims to be from INIS, Ireland’s immigration service. Most of the time, it is said that the student must pay an “administrative fee” or “processing fee”, which does not exist. In some cases, the individual says that the student will be deported on the same day, unless a payment is made immediately to a given account outside the country.
Although the call seems legitimate, it is important to know that INIS never contacts the phone to request payments. In addition, anyone who is at risk of deportation is notified in advance through an official document sent by post.
If you receive a call of this type, do not pass any personal information over the phone, or confirm the information that is said about you. Do not make any payments without first contacting the authorities to verify the accuracy of the information. In addition, it is important to file an incident with the police, as this helps in investigating criminals.
In addition to the calls, there are also records of fraudulent e-mails with INIS signature and logo, requesting information such as address, e-mail, telephone and passport number. In addition to stealing sensitive data, criminals can also request payments, claiming that there will be serious consequences if the amount is not paid, such as deportation or visa suspension.
In this case, do not reply to the email and immediately report it to the police. If you have any questions about the accuracy of the email, contact INIS, ICOS or your school for assistance. Also, avoid opening email links and attachments, as they may contain viruses and other malicious software.
Many criminals also take advantage of high demand and high property prices in Dublin to apply scams. You must be very careful when looking for and booking accommodation, as the photos and description of the property are not always in line with reality. Some scammers create copies of real ads, using the same photos, but different email and phone numbers. So, when the interested party gets in touch, they find some excuse for not showing the property, and they propose to send the keys – false, of course – in exchange for a payment.
In other cases, criminals rent a property, and advertise the same property on classified sites. Upon finding interested parties, the scammers collect the security deposit and the first month’s rent and either disappear with the money, or exchange the keys.
To avoid this type of situation, the CCPC (the Procon of Ireland ) recommends visiting the property in person and requiring a lease. Also, be wary of very cheap ads or owners who find excuses not to find you. If making a payment, use traceable methods like bank transfer or sites like PayPal.
The NGO Threshold also provides guidance and tips to avoid scams and fraud in the search for housing.