Advance Fee Fraud
Advance Fee Fraud refers to various frauds where you are asked to make an advance or upfront payment for goods, services or an opportunity that does not in reality exist. The approach can be made through email, social media, newspaper adverts or through flyers or notices posted in public places.
Some common ways in which this is done are:
- Career Opportunity Scams
The fraudster contacts you directly or through social media claiming to be an employer or recruitment agency who is considering you for a position, which is usually abroad. You fill in an application form and may even be given a phone interview. A job offer is then made and the fraudster suggests organising travel arrangements, accommodation, visa etc. on your behalf. In order to progress with this, you need to pay an upfront fee. Needless to say, no arrangements are made and there is no job.
- Work-from-home Scams
Always be wary of any unexpected opportunity that offers you easy money e.g. lots of money for doing easy part-time work from your own home, especially if you have to give money up front in order to avail of the opportunity. Work-from-home scams often ask you to pay an advance fee up front for insurance, training or products, which you never receive or are worthless. Independently check out any potential employer or job opportunity.
- Rental Fraud
A potential tenant is tricked into paying a deposit for a property. In reality, the property does not exist or if it does, has already been rented, often to multiple people. This fraud usually targets people who are trying to rent in another country or those trying to rent in Ireland. Students can be a target at certain times of the year when properties are scarce and in desperation people place a deposit on a property before seeing it.
- Be wary of paying money in advance. The majority of legitimate employers shouldn’t require you to pay anything to start working with them.
- The prospect of easy money is always a red flag. Stop and think – It doesn’t make sense for someone to pay you lots for doing very little unless it is illegal or a scam.
- When renting a property make sure that you or someone representing you has seen the property before you pay a deposit.
- When renting a property, watch out for red flags, such as a landlord pressuring you to close the deal, a price that seems too low for the area or a landlord letting agent who won’t meet you face to face.