Renters are being warned to be cautious of fraud scams taking place in Co. Cork.
A new campaign has been launched today by the national housing charity Threshold along with the gardaí and UCC Student's Union.
'Scamwatch' highlights frauds that are doing the rounds and offers information and advice to those who may be affected.
Deputy President of University College Cork's Students' Union, Kelly Coyle, said the shortage of accommodation does not help.
Ms Coyle said: "Particularly it happens with international students when they have paid a deposit for houses before they come over and then they get here and they are told that the key will be in a certain location and that the house doesn't exist and nor does the location.
"It was predominantly with international students getting scammed out of upwards of €1,500 which they were paying into bank accounts and then they were cleared out the next day."
Southern Regional Services Manager of Threshold, Edel Conlon, said: “We had two recent cases, students from Brazil were duped into paying €1,750 in rent for a non-existent tenancy.
“We strongly advise people to be cautious of a landlord who claims to be out of the country, can’t show you the property but requests a deposit anyway. Would-be renters should also be mindful that in some instances a scammer could be living at the property and showing a number of people around, getting a deposit from several people and then disappearing with the money.
“Our advice to anyone looking for accommodation is to resist the urge to accept the first place they see."
The campaign has issued a Scamwatch checklist can be downloaded here.