Fraudsters preying on vulnerable international students – Irish Council for International students calls for action from Government

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The student accommodation crisis has resulted in increases in the numbers of scams, leaving many international students homeless and out of pocket

The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) has seen a marked increase in the number of queries handled through its information and support service relating to accommodation. ICOS has been contacted by many students looking for help finding accommodation, to report that they are homeless, to report a scam, or to make a complaint about the substandard, and often overcrowded, conditions of their accommodation.

Laura Harmon, Executive Director of the Irish Council for International Students said:

"International students are more vulnerable when it comes to accommodation scams as they often have little knowledge of the rental market landscape in Ireland, meaning they run a higher risk of being exploited. Fraudsters are looking to take advantage of vulnerable students on a wider scale than ever before, with Gardaí reporting a 30% increase in reports.’’

‘‘The student accommodation crisis is worse than ever now due to a lack of supply, exorbitant rents and ineffective regulations on overcrowding among other issues. The accommodation crisis will impact on Ireland’s reputation abroad as a study destination. Without action, this will have serious ramifications for Ireland’s higher education sector as well as our economy. International students contribute more than €2.2bn annually to Ireland, and play an important role enriching Irish education and society.’’

‘‘The Government published a Student Accommodation Strategy in 2017 and there has been no report on progress since 2019. This is unacceptable. ICOS is also eagerly awaiting the publication of a new International Education Strategy for Ireland which is nearly two years overdue.’’

Harmon continued: ‘‘Rising rents and a lack of available properties to rent also forces many students to live in overcrowded, substandard accommodation. We urgently need a review and overhaul of current legislation on overcrowding and to ensure it is enforced.’’

ICOS Advice to Students:

ICOS advises students to exercise extreme caution when searching for accommodation. There are things that you can do to avoid being scammed, for example:

  • Be careful if the rent seems like a bargain and do more research by checking out rental rates in the area
  • Watch out for websites that maybe cloned – always check the URL
  • Use Google maps or check the Register of Landlords on the Residential Tenancies Board website to verify that the property exists
  • Never agree to rent a property through a website or social media
  • Never hand over cash, as cash is untraceable
  • Never transfer funds via Western Union, Moneybookers or other Electronic Fund Transfer services to someone claiming to be an agent or landlord for a prospective property
  • If you suspect a scam or if you have been scammed, report it to the Gardaí



Notes to editor:

  • ICOS is available to contact for any international student who needs assistance in making a complaint about accommodation:

About ICOS

The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) is an independent advocacy organisation whose mission is to protect the rights of international students, and to contribute to a vibrant international education sector in Ireland which has the quality of the student experience at its centre. ICOS has 26 institutional members, including all of the universities and technological universities in the Republic of Ireland, many of the Institutes of Technology, and all major independent third level colleges. Our membership also includes the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). ICOS’ values include: consultation, collaboration, learning, and accountability, and our goals are to influence policy and standards in international education; build the capacity of our members; empower international students to pursue their rights; and support and showcase the important contribution of international education to international development.

For media comment please contact ICOS Executive Director, Laura Harmon, on Ph: 0861738455 Email:

News type
ICOS Press Release