Beware of scams when looking for accommodation in Ireland

Starting a life in a new city is an exciting venture, but amidst the excitement, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and informed to avoid falling victim to accommodation scams. The rise of online booking platforms has made it easier for people to find and secure lodging, but it has also opened doors for scammers. To ensure a smooth and scam-free stay, here are some valuable tips to consider when looking for accommodation in Ireland.

  1. Stick to Reputable Websites: When searching for short-term accommodation initially, use well-known and reputable websites such as Airbnb, Booking.com and Hosting Power. These platforms have established trust among renters and typically have safeguards in place to protect users from fraudulent listings.
  2. Read Reviews and Ratings: Reviews from previous guests can provide valuable insights into the authenticity and quality of an accommodation. Pay attention to both positive and negative reviews, and be wary if a property has a disproportionately high number of negative comments or lacks reviews altogether.
  3. Red flags: Be aware of these common red flags
    • Asking for money before you see the property.
    • The person doesn’t live in Ireland.
    • The images on the listing look like stock pictures
    • The rent is lower than the average price.
    • The person renting the room doesn’t have an Irish phone number.
  4. Verify the Property’s Existence: Scammers often create fake listings using stolen images from legitimate properties. To avoid falling victim to such scams, use Google Maps to verify the property’s existence and compare the images on the listing with those on the mapping service. But the best way is always to go and view the property.
  5. Communicate Directly with Hosts: Establish direct communication with hosts through the platform’s messaging system before making any bookings. Legitimate hosts are typically responsive and willing to answer your questions. Be cautious if a host is reluctant to provide additional information or insists on communicating outside of the platform. Don’t deal with someone who is a tenant renting their room.
  6. Beware of Too-Good-to-Be-True Deals: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often lure people with unbelievably low prices to entice them into making hasty decisions. Compare the prices of similar accommodations in the area to gauge whether the listing is within a reasonable range.
  7. Use Secure Payment Methods: Stick to the secure payment methods provided by reputable booking platforms. Avoid making payments through unconventional methods, such as wire transfers or money orders, as these offer little to no recourse in case of fraud. Often paying with a credit card is much safer than paying with cash.
  8. Check for Verified Hosts: Many booking platforms offer a verification process for hosts. Look for properties with verified hosts, as this adds an extra layer of assurance that the property is legitimate and the host is who they claim to be.
  9. Be Sceptical of Urgent Requests: Scammers often create a sense of urgency to pressure people into making quick decisions. If a host insists on immediate payment or claims that the property is in high demand, take a step back and thoroughly investigate the situation before proceeding.

Conclusion:

Exploring the stunning landscapes and vibrant culture of Ireland should be a memorable experience, not marred by accommodation scams. By staying informed, using reputable platforms, and exercising caution, you can increase your chances of finding a genuine and enjoyable place to stay. Keep these tips in mind, and may your journey through the Emerald Isles be filled with genuine hospitality and unforgettable moments.

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