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The Irish Method is a robot created by Jason Flanagan, which claims to have used it to earn millions of euros himself and now wants to give an opportunity to his members to earn hundreds of thousands of euros a month. He is so confident with his system that he is willing to give EUR10,000 out of his own pocket if members do not make hundreds of thousands of euros per month.
Does this sound familiar? Is this legitimate or a scam? Read below to find out.
Software: 100% Automated
Max Returns: 85%
Minimum Deposit: $250
Countries: All nations
- No actual proof provided, just fake claims and testimonial
- No real information at all provided
- Unregulated broker
Not Reliable Service
What is the Irish Method Robot?
If you thought that the claims made by the robot: hundreds of thousands in profits per month otherwise the creator will pay you ten thousand out of his own pocket sounds familiar; you’re right. The reason these claims sound familiar is because Irish Method is just another clone of various ‘[Insert location here] Method’ scams that have sprung up recently. The creators of these scams are clearly extremely lazy or are simply going for the ‘throw everything at the wall and see what sticks’ method of luring in gullible customers.
It should be no surprise to you at all the ‘Jake Flanagan’ does not exist at all, and is likely just a stock image. If you watch the promotional video on their website, which is full of Fiverr actors giving fake video testimonials; you will find no sightings of the fresh-faced young man claiming to be Jake Flanagan in this video. You will find his face in various other scam methods however, namely the Brit Method, where he’s known as Jason Taylor, the Aussie Method, where he’s called Jake Pertu, and the Canuck Method, where he’s now Jake Mason.
Nowhere in the video or the site do these scammers even mention the manner in which the robot works. At least in other scams, the scammers try to use buzzwords such as ‘proprietary algorithms’, ‘mirror trading’, or ‘deep learning artificial intelligence’ to dress up their robots’ amazing results. Take a look at the ‘profit guarantee’ posted by Jake on the website (which can also be found on all the other X method websites mentioned above).
It truly boggles the mind how little regard these scammers have for people’s intelligence. We do take comfort in the fact that the top Google searches for all of this methods immediately bring up pages outing them for the recycled scams that they are. However, we understand that many of these scammers get customers through email solicitations, and then perhaps they hope that some people will be simply too lazy or gullible to perform a simple Google search.
How Does It Work?
As is the standard modus operandi of all of these free scam robots, the creators of the robot make money via affiliate commissions from their partner binary options broker when customers sign up through the robot and fund their account. By operating in this manner, customers can be lured in as it is ‘free’ and since the scammers get paid upon the funding of the account; the performance of the robot is then made irrelevant. In our case, the broker we were assigned to upon signing up with the Irish Method was Toroption, which is an unregulated broker.
If you want to know how the robot works, don’t bother, because just like the recycled scam, the creators are likely simply using a generic white label automated trading software, which they probably also recycle across the various ‘X method’ scams.
Irish Method is nothing but a recycled scam by scammers who are simply too lazy to even vary the images and claims used. Since the term ‘Irish Method’ is not even used in their promotional video, they probably replicate it across the various scams too. These ‘spam scammers’ are so proliferate that even the mainstream media has taken notice. Don’t even bother with this one.
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Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich
What Is the Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich?
The double Irish with a Dutch sandwich is a tax avoidance technique employed by certain large corporations, involving the use of a combination of Irish and Dutch subsidiary companies to shift profits to low or no-tax jurisdictions. The technique has made it possible for certain corporations to reduce their overall corporate tax rates dramatically.
- The double Irish with a Dutch sandwich is a tax avoidance technique employed by certain large corporations.
- The scheme involves sending profits first through one Irish company, then to a Dutch company and finally to a second Irish company headquartered in a tax haven.
- The legislation passed in Ireland in 2020 ends the use of the tax scheme for new tax plans. Companies with established structures were able to benefit from the old system until 2020.
Understanding Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich
The double Irish with a Dutch sandwich is just one of a class of similar international tax avoidance schemes. Each involves arranging transactions between subsidiary companies to take advantage of the idiosyncrasies of various national tax codes.
These techniques are most prominently used by tech companies because these firms can easily shift large portions of profits to other countries by assigning intellectual property rights to subsidiaries abroad.
The double Irish with a Dutch sandwich is generally considered to be an aggressive tax planning strategy used by some of the world’s largest corporations. In 2020, it came under heavy scrutiny, especially from the U.S. and the European Union, when it was discovered that this technique facilitated the transfer of several billion dollars annually tax-free to tax havens.
Due largely to international pressure and the publicity surrounding the use of double Irish with a Dutch sandwich, the Irish finance minister passed measures to close the loopholes in the 2020 budget. The legislation effectively ends the use of the tax scheme for new tax plans. Companies with established structures were able to benefit from the old system until 2020.
Requirements for Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich
The first Irish company would receive large royalties from sales sold to U.S. consumers. The U.S. profits and therefore taxes are dramatically lowered and the Irish taxes on the royalties are very low. Due to a loophole in Irish laws, the company can then transfer its profits tax-free to the offshore company, where they can remain untaxed for years.
The second Irish company is used for sales to European customers. It is also taxed at a low rate and can send its profits to the first Irish company using a Dutch company as an intermediary. If done right, there is no tax paid anywhere. The first Irish company now has all the money and can again send it onward to the company in the tax haven.
Example of the Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich
In 2020, Google reportedly transferred 19.9 billion euros or roughly $22 billion through a Dutch company, which was then forwarded to an Irish company in Bermuda. Companies pay no taxes in Bermuda. In short, Google’s subsidiary in the Netherlands was used to transfer revenue to the Irish subsidiary in Bermuda.
Irish Spins Casino Review
Attention: Unfortunately, this online casino is no longer availabe. Never fear: there are countless other reputable operators ready and waiting! Check out our list of online casinos for more options.
If the name doesn’t give it away, the we can confirm that this is a site that is strongly themed around the Emerald Isle. Irish Spins is a very new site that is brought to us by Nektan Gaming. The casino is playing on the idea of the luck of the Irish. It promises an immersive and truly unforgettable online gaming experience.
|Evaluated casino||Irish Spins|
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
|Total number of games||600+|
|⚖️ Regulation||UK Gambling Commission|
|Irish Spins||Play Here!|
Nektan have taken Irish Spins to the next level when it comes to theme, and the setting cannot be in doubt. There is green everywhere you look, the casino lady is a red haired woman wearing all green. The shamrock imagery is dotted around – we are just missing the leprechauns. In our Irish Spins review, we want to make sure that it is a good site.
Playing on a casino is more than just luck, we want to make sure that the site is not only fun, but well regulated, properly licensed and completely trustworthy. At Scams.info we make sure that getting a good experience is guaranteed, and this isn’t a lot of old Irish baloney.
Overview of Our Experiences
The Irish theme in casinos and casino games isn’t exactly original. As such, we wanted to see how it compared to the others – and if it stood out in its field. Visually, we found it a little cliché – and a little too ‘obviously’ Irish. However, the looks of the site are not as important as what’s going on.
We started our Irish Spins casino review by checking out the site’s game catalogue, to see if it had enough to keep players entertained. Happily, there were in excess of 500 games, which is not too shabby. There were the variety of games that we would expect from a Nektan Gaming casino. There are slots, live table games, casino games and even instant win games from all of the top industry providers.
|Address:||Irish Spins, Nektan Gibraltar Ltd, 2.1, Waterport Place, 2 Europort Avenue, Gibraltar|
|Phone:||0203 968 0717|
|Live chat:||Yes, 8 AM – midnight|
Aside from the very decent games on offer, we checked out what was going on with the welcome bonus. It was pretty huge and definitely eye catching enough to get punters through the front door. However, there were other good promotions as well. Nektan Casinos often give out decent bonuses, so this wasn’t really a surprise.
We then checked out the more practical areas of the casino – banking and customer service – two very important areas of the site. These areas were also very good. The banking had lots of variety – including PayPal. Furthermore, the ways of contact the Customer Service were numerous – and the agents were very good. They were also very hot on Responsible Gambling which we liked. Overall, our experience on the site was very good and worth a second look.
Irish Spins Check: Scam or Not?
Here we have another of the many casinos owned by the very well-established Nektan Gaming. As such a well-known name within the industry, we can trust that it isn’t a scam. On top of this, we can also see that this is a site licensed by two separate governing bodies – the UK Gambling Commission as well as the Gibraltar Gambling Commission. These are well recognized governing bodies. Also, be aware that this site is purely for UK players. If you manage to gain access from a different country, then you need to be aware that you will have no protection from outside the country.
Not only is this a Nektan Gaming casino, but it also offers top games from industry favourites such as NetEnt Gaming. When you look at any NetEnt casino, you will see that it is very safe and fully compliant. Casinos offering these games are generally the most reputable in the industry. To add to this, the site is a PayPal casino and this is another name that only works with legit companies. Finally, when we looked it up, ThePogg states that there have been a very low number of complaints and that it rates 8/10 in licensing.
We can see that there is no Irish Spins scam. Not only is it fully regulated and compliant, but it is also linked to the most well-regarded names in the industry.
Summary of the Offers from Irish Spins
When looking at the offers available at Irish Spins, we thought that there was enough to keep most players happy. They offered games from top providers, with over 500 top games available. There are different choices from slots and jackpot games to table games, live casino games and Instant Win…. And then there are those promotions…
|The Website of Irish Spins|
When it comes to games at Irish Spins, the main product on offer is slot games, with in excess of 500 available to play. There are to gaming providers on offer including top providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming and IGT. There are also products from Aristocrat, Red Tiger, Realistic Gaming, Scientific. Lightning Box, Merkur, Nektan, Blueprint, Big Time Gaming, ELK Studios and more. If you check out their ‘favourite games’ you can play on games such as Pirates Plenty, Starburst and Wolf Gold.
If you want to try out the newer games in the industry, then there are plenty, including Scudamore’s Super Stakes and Mayan Gods. There is also an interesting selection of ‘Girl Power’ slots, such as Madame Destiny and Queen of Atlantis. We were interested to see that there was no specific Jackpot games area, which is unusual.
The choice of Instant Win games is also very decent. There are 34 different games available including 7up!, Cash Buster and Mayan Legends. These games are powered by NextGen and just offer something a little different.
Then we come to the casino table games, there are 39 on offer, including roulette, blackjack, Oasis Poker, Pontoon, Punto Banco and TXS Hold’em. Amongst this choice, there are also 30 Live Dealer games on offer, powered by NetEnt, Evolution Gaming and Extreme.
You can play on top roulette games, including Immersive Roulette and Speed Roulette. There are top blackjack games including Blackjack Party and Blackjack Grand VIP. Furthermore, you can play on a variety of baccarat games, Dream Catcher, Three Card Poker, Casino Hold’em, Football Studio, Dragon Tiger and Caribbean Stud Poker.
Overall, the online casino at Irish Spins really was pretty impressive. We liked the Instant Win and compared to many live casinos, this had some fantastic games available.
Irish Spins Bonus: Check Out the Offer
When you compare the Irish Spins bonus on registration to other casino bonuses, it looks very impressive. Overall, on sign up, you could end up with an £850 bonus as well as 50 free spins to play on Starburst. The deposit bonus comes in three separate stages. On your first deposit of £10 or more, you can get a 200% bonus up to £100 plus 50 free spins on Starburst. On your second, you can get a 100% match bonus up to £250. Then, on the third, you can get a 50% match bonus up to £500.
If you want to claim the bonuses, then all you need to do is make sure each of those 3 deposits are £10 or more. After you first deposit f £10 or more, you will automatically get 50 free spins, no matter how big your deposit is. All of those spins you get are worth 10p and are only valid on Starburst. As soon as you launch the game, your free spins will be activated.
|Deposit bonus:||Up to £850 + 50 Free Spins|
|Bonus condition:||40x wagering requirement|
|Other promotions:||VIP Scheme|
There are several terms and conditions attached to the bonus. Firstly, the bonus money comes with a 40-times wagering requirement (of the bonus and deposit combined). Once these are met, your money will be converted to capped cash. However, once credited, your bonus is valid for only 24-hours. If you do not meet the wagering requiring requirements in that time, then remaining bonus funds will be removed. The winnings from bonus is capped at 4-times the bonus, and the different games have different weightings for the wagering. Make sure you check the full T&Cs on the site.
However, there are various other promotions available for payers. Firstly, there is a great VIP scheme, open to players who have played a minimum of £2,000. You can benefit from higher deposit limits, faster withdrawals, special gifts, exclusive promotions and your own account manager. You also have 20 spins for £20 in the Weekend Bonanza; 20% Bonus Match up to £100 – in the Booster Bonus 20; Up to 50 Free Spins of Wolf Gold in the Free Spins Frenzy and more. We found the number and quality of promotions to be pretty good.
Deposit and Payout at the Casino
When we went to look at the depositing, we were rather impressed with the variety of methods on offer. We were pleased to see that it was a PayPal casino, but there were plenty of other options available. You could use cards – such as Visa, MasterCard and Maestro, as well as Neteller, Skrill, Instant Banking, ecoPayz, iDebit, InstaDebit, Boku, Paysafecard, Trustly and Zimpler. For all of the depositing methods, you will find there is a minimum transaction of £10. However, the maximum depends on the method of payment, but the site stipulates £10,000 –, which is very high. All deposits were instant and were free from fees.
|Payment Options at Irish Spins|
|Deposit options:||Visa, MasterCard, Visa Debit, Neteller, Skrill, Trustly, Paysafecard, Zimpler, Trustly, Maestro, PayPal|
|Accepted currency:||GBP, CAD, NZS, SEK, EUR|
|Payout options:||Visa, MasterCard, Visa Debit, Neteller, Skrill, Trustly, Zimpler, Trustly, Maestro, PayPal|
You could also use these same methods for withdrawal. Although you are required to withdraw via the method with which you deposited. At any one time, the minimum you could withdraw was the standard £10, while there was a very generous maximum withdrawal of £10,000 per day, which we were impressed with.
All withdrawals were free from fees. One area that seemed to be an issue was the speed of transactions. Cards generally took between 1-5 days, which is standard, but often eWallets could take over a day, which is longer than normal. However, that was our only issue, as otherwise we were very impressed.
Security and Regulation
Like all of the Nektan Games casinos, the casino is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission as well as the Gibraltar Gambling Commission. As a result, there are several boxes it needs to tick to stay compliant. As part of its license, the site is required to use a third party Dispute Resolution Service that has been approved by the UKGC. Irish Spins employs IBAS (Independent Betting Adjudication Service), to make sure your complaints are dealt with by a fair and impartial third party.
There are many other certifications that the site holds also. It is accredited by Gaming Labs, which provides world-class testing and certification ensuring the casino’s highest level of independence and integrity. As such, you can be sure that every game offered is completely tested as fair. All the Random Number Generators are audited and the RTPs are clarified. This ensures that all areas of the site are completely fair.
In order to ensure the safety of your personal and financial data, the site uses the best 128-bit SSL encryption. As such all of your information is fully protected and secure.
This is also a casino that very much pushes the Responsible Gambling idea. There are banners advertising GambleAware across the site’s pages. It also has logos of BeGambleAware, GamStop and GamCare at the footer of the site. As well as this, you could take control of your own gambling, including setting limits, time checks and self-exclude.
The customer service really was pretty good, as there were many ways to get in contact with the agents. Firstly, there is a telephone number for immediate assistant – 0044 203 968 0717. However, this is not a freephone number. Having said that, another way for immediate assistance is via the live chat.
If you don’t mind waiting a little longer, then you can write them via email. It states that you should get a response within 24 hours; however, we found it to be much quicker, often getting a response within an hour or two. There is also a live chat with agents available between 08.00 – 00.00, it’s not 24-hour but still pretty decent. The agents were very helpful and professional.
When looking at the FAQ area of the site, we had trouble accessing it as there were technical problems. Therefore, we cannot comment on the helpfulness of this area of the site.
Usability of the Online Casino
The site had a really good layout that made it very accessible for users. Along the top of the site, you can either log-in or register. Registration was pretty quick and easy. The banner below advertised the top games and top promotions. Incorporated in the banner, there was a button for all promotions.
Then, below that, we could access the different areas of the site; Players Favourites, New Games, Girl Power, Casino Games, Live Casino, Instant Win and All Games; there was also a search function. We were surprised that there was no area for jackpot games. However, we did like that you could sort the games into types of wins – Very Big, Big, Regular, Frequent and Very Frequent. There was also a tool to sort by provider, which was good.
Another aspect we liked was the accessibility of the help, as well as the Responsible Gaming banners advertised on the site. It was attractive, easy to use and offered a good user experience.
Irish Spins App: Many Different Slots
New casinos often come with great mobile products and Irish Spins is no exception. You can open the site on html browser on both iOS and Android phones. It is is formatted perfectly and works very well on both. It is quick and smooth – and offers all of the games that you can find on the desktop site.
However, if you do not want to open the browser site, then you can access an Irish Spins app, which offers the same quality of user experience. You will find the site on browser and app laid out in a very similar way to the desktop version, which makes it very easy to use. Furthermore, login and registration is easy to get to – and the banking is straightforward. As far as mobile casinos go, this was a very good attempt, offering a great way to play those Irish Spins on the go.
Conclusion: Fun Online Casino with its Own Software
Overall, we liked the casino. At first, we found it a little cliché, but looking past it there was substance to it. The number of games and variety available was good; they also had the top providers. We also though the live casino was better than many out there. The banking was overall very good. Despite some slower withdrawal times, the variety was good and the limits were high. We were also impressed with the quality of customer service available. As far as online casinos go, our Irish Spins review was a good experience. The casino offers a fun, safe and engaging user experience, worth a very good 4,0 out of 5,0.
Netflix users targeted in fresh scam looking for updated payment details
Bogus phishing email circulating since beginning of this week
The bogus email attempts to get Netflix customers’ credit card details.
A scam targeting Netflix users has resurfaced with emails claiming to be from the streaming company asking for updated payment details circulating since the beginning of the week.
The scam email uses fake Netflix branding to fool customers and is more plausible than many phishing scams as it replicates messages the company sends out when credit cards or debit cards used to pay the monthly fee have expired.
The email attempts to redirect customers to a fake website dressed up to look like a genuine Netflix page and users are asked to update payment details because of problems processing their cards.
“Sorry for the interruption but we are having trouble authorising your credit card,” the mail starts . “Please visit www.netflix.com/youraccountpayment to enter your payment information again or to use a different payment method,” it continues. “When you have finished, we will try to verify your account again. If it still does not work, you will want to contact your bank.”
The link does not, however, take users to the Netflix site and redirects them to a site controlled by the scam artists which is used to harvest credit and debit card numbers.
One reason the scam has caught people out is because it replicates legitimate communication from the company.
If there is an actual problem with an account an email from Netflix will start: “We’re having some trouble with your current billing information. We’ll try again, but in the meantime you may want to update your payment details.”
The legitimate Netflix email will look like this
Underneath that there is a link to a site where the update can be processed. Critically, however, this page will already be populated with key information including the last four digits of a user’s credit card and its expiry date unlike the fake pages which are blank.
The web address on the legitimate site will start with https://www.netflix.com and include a padlock symbol. The web addresses of the fake accounts should be easier to identify and most do not include the padlock symbol.
Anyone who does submit personal information via fraudulent emails should contact their bank or credit card company immediately.
The usual suspects: The top 5 scams causing trouble for consumers
Unfortunately, scams are continuing to cause trouble for consumers here in Ireland, in the rest of Europe and further afield. I guess as long as there is money to be made there will always be some unscrupulous fraudster out to hoodwink people into handing over their hard-earned cash and getting nothing, or not what they expected, in return.
As March is International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) Fraud Protection Month, we thought it would be an opportune time to have a look at the top scams, frauds, and other suspicious happenings that we hear about at ECC Ireland.
Our consumer success story of the month looks at how ECC Ireland helped a woman get her money back after she was charged not once, but twice, for a holiday hotel booking. The consumer query of the month is scam related and involves a hotel booking via a dodgy online travel agent that disappeared soon after the payment was taken.
You can download your free February eBulletin PDF here or, alternatively, read on to find out more.
Watch out, scammers about! The top 5 scams to watch out for
1. The many changing faces, and names, of dodgy fashion websites
Being able to buy clothes or other fashion items online and across borders is of great benefit to consumers in the majority of cases, but unfortunately there are situations where it hasn’t turned out so good and they have been the victim of a dodgy fashion website.
ECC Ireland receives reports, on an almost weekly basis, about certain online fashion traders who rip off consumers by sending clothes/shoes that are either of inferior quality, the wrong colour/size or product altogether, and even with stains or holes in them (yes, you read correctly!). Not only this, but when consumers try to complain they often find out that the trader is not actually based in the EU/EEA but further afield like China, then struggle to get a response or adequate refund or replacement. Some have even returned the offending item, at their own expense, never to hear from the trader again, and obviously lost the money too.
There is another problem that we’ve noticed. Even when there are bad reviews on handy resources such as Trustpilot or negative ratings on Scamadviser that’s not to say that suddenly the fraudsters’ dodgy dealings are scuppered. Au contraire mon ami! Some of these traders get around this little hiccup by just changing their names – they sometimes don’t even bother changing the look of the site, just the domain name and anywhere the company name is mentioned. That’s it! They go on to scam even more consumers. There are quite a few of these Lazurus-like traders out there.
Some of these reincarnations are not even that clever. The new not-so-genious domain name may not even have anything whatsoever to do with clothes or shoes, for example the domain name may contain something like landscaping and yet on the site it sells shoes. This should be an alarm bell but alas, consumers have bought products from these types of websites but inevitably end up paying the price. How does this happen? Well, a domain name from another business may become available and so the dodgy trader can buy them quite cheaply and use it to trade online for a short time, but time enough to scam a few people before the site disappears and the trader scarpers off again, to probably set up yet another website, and so, it goes on and on.
2. Pops-ups that could end up costing you more than you thought
Social media is just harmless fun isn’t it? What’s wrong with just scrolling and clicking things without thinking twice? Well, a lot actually! Not only are consumers buying more and more online from official websites but they are also responding to advertising, clicking the link or pop-ups and following through on that purchase via social media. Most of this is fine as social media is by now a well-established marketing tool used by countless online retailers all over the world. However, just like anything else, there are the few bad seeds who will try to use this medium to con you so beware.
ECC Ireland and the rest of the ECC-Network has received numerous reports from consumers who have been blindsided by dodgy social media pop-ups and other similar advertising. While the majority of these complaints have involved beauty products others have been in relation to health-related items and even credit cards.
The modus operandi is that consumers are attracted by this shiny enticing pop-up ad, which maybe promotes a ‘special offer’ or ‘free trial’ or it’s something that you can only get from these guys, and maybe for a limited time. The consumer is interested, clicks to find out more, might enter details such as a name, email, and address but then doesn’t continue on with the purchase and has not entered into a contract. However, some time later unsolicited goods may arrive on the doorstep along with a demand for payment and often a threat of debt collectors if this is not paid. Some consumers have not even provided the trader with a postal address, only an email, and then they receive an email with an invoice claiming that a contract had been entered into and that payment needs to be made. Not very nice at all for these consumers who understandably are worried by this thinking that they have to pay. The answer is, you do not have to pay for or return a package that you have not ordered.
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3. Romance scams that will be break your heart and empty your wallet
Unfortunately, from time-to-time ECC Ireland is contacted by consumers who have been caught out by so-called romance scams. This is one of the worst kinds of scams as it results in the victim being not only financially at a loss but also feeling heartbroken and betrayed. You may think, ‘But, how can this happen?’. Well, it happens quite a lot, but it is under-reported mainly because people feel embarrassed and maybe don’t know where to go with their complaint.
These types of scams typically occur when the victim gets talking to the scammer either on a dating website, social media, or other online forums. Trust is built up over time, even as long as a couple of years, during which the scammer dupes the victim into believing that it is a real relationship – there is sometimes even proposals of marriage. Everything is going wonderfully when all-of-a-sudden there is a crisis of some kind and the scammer needs money to help him/her – it could be to pay off a credit card, get them out of the army, save their business. If this is all sorted, then they can be together. Happy ever after, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, ECC has seen cases where people have lost more than €30,000 in this way.
These scammers pray on the vulnerable and the lonely, take what they can get, before their true intentions have been revealed and the victim, or perhaps a friend/family member, raises the alarm.
Please watch out for this type of scam. It may not be you, but it could be someone you know who falls victim to this so be vigilant.
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4. Fake accommodation owners or non-existent rental properties
There are also the mysterious cases of the elusive accommodation owners, disappearing rental properties, and your vanishing money. These scams usually start out normal enough with the consumer searching for a property to rent, either to live in or just for a holiday. They may do their research on a well-known legitimate accommodation website but when it comes to sealing the deal with the property owner they are encouraged to go off the platform, where there is a secure payment system, and deal with the owner directly. This often leads to the owner telling the consumer that the payment needs to be made by bank transfer (which is not a secure method of payment). The consumer may then turn up to the property only to find out that they have not been dealing with the real owner but an imposter and therefore have no booking. There have been cases where the consumer has found online what looks like a beautiful villa to rent, pay the money, only to find out that the property doesn’t even exist.
This type of scam doesn’t just happen with holiday rentals, there have been many cases reported where people looking for a room or apartment to rent here in Ireland have been scammed. The wannabe renter may find a property on a legitimate rental accommodation platform which seems too good to be true – great price, fab pictures, etc (should be a red flag given what the housing situation in places such as Dublin is like at the moment). They contact the email provided and get a reply saying that they bought the apartment while they were living for a few years (usually about 5) in Ireland. Then they say that they have this big job that doesn’t allow them to come to Ireland ‘for even a single day’ but that there will be someone to meet you at the apartment and you can give one month’s rent first, just to see if you like it. ALARM BELLS. DING DING DING.
The rule of thumb here is that if you’re using a legitimate holiday accommodation website that uses its own secure payment system then stay on that platform and do not, I repeat, do not, go off the platform to pay the owner directly. Most of these platforms allow you to contact the owner to ask questions about the property and that is recommended but when it comes to payment you should use the secure payment system provided by the third party accommodation website. You should always use a credit/debit card to make the payment. Never ever send money via bank transfer as this is not secure and difficult to trace meaning if it’s taken by a scammer then it’s gone.
For general long-term rental accommodation the most common accommodation platforms only advertise properties and don’t provide its own payment system so really it’s up to you to make sure to do your research thoroughly and remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never send money to anyone without having first viewed the property and being comfortable that the property is as advertised. Some rental property sites have a report ad button so if you see an ad that’s suspicious then report it.
5. Refurbished phones causing trouble
There is a big market out there now for refurbished phones, especially if consumers can get their hands on a cheaper iPhone as a brand new one could set you back quite a bit. While refurbished phones are available directly through manufacturers and perfectly legitimate new and second-hand phone sellers/marketplaces, ECC Ireland has received a concerning number of reports from consumers who have bought refurbished phones from some dodgy online traders only to encounter significant problems with their purchases later.
The cases reported include instances where the consumer has bought from an online trader with a domain name that looks like it is based in Ireland or UK but in fact is based in the US or somewhere else outside the EU/EEA, and so when there has been a problem with the purchase it is difficult to avail of EU consumer legislation. Even when the trader is based in the EU, there may be another obstacle – the manufacturer does not recognise the consumer as the owner of the phone and therefore refuses to give assistance when there is a fault or perhaps the manufacturer will not fix a problem because the handset has been fitted with unapproved refurbishment parts. Sometimes the phone has been blacklisted because it has been reported stolen. In some cases, consumers have bought these phones only to find that after just one month they have stopped working because they have been blocked.
For more information:
General tips to help you avoid scams
- Do your research thoroughly before hitting the purchase button or agreeing to anything. When you’re shopping online for any kind of product or service it’s vitally important that you know who the trader is and where they are based. Remember, if they are based within the EU/EEA then you have better protection under EU consumer legislation. However, watch out for traders who claim to be based within the EU/EEA but when you dig a little further (in the terms and conditions, doing a ‘whois domain’ search online, or a review search) it turns out that they are based elsewhere or for traders who have no contact information at all other than a contact form. Here’s an article we did a while back which provides tips on checking for fake websites and doing your research.
- Other research resources to find out about the trustworthiness of a website and information about scams include: The Wayback Machine, Scamadviser, Trustpilot, gov, Action Fraud UK and the scams section on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s website.
- Know what you’re signing up for. As previously stated in scam number 2 (above) there are a lot of online purchases that may involve a ‘free trial’ or special offer. Make sure you read the terms and conditions fully to find out what this free or special offer entails – when do you start to pay, is there an automatic renewal/rolling contract, how do you cancel?
- Always use a secure method of payment such as a debit/credit card just in case things go wrong. Never ever do a money transfer as once it’s gone, it’s gone. By using your card, you at least have the option to go to your bank/credit card provider to see if you can avail of chargeback and/or cancel an unauthorised payment. Other payment methods such as PayPal are also secure to use as they have protections in place.
- What to do when you’ve been scammed: If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of a scam then it is treated as a criminal matter and therefore these cases should be reported to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau by phoning 01-6663776.
Consumer success story of the month:
An Irish consumer booked accommodation online through an online booking platform for a holiday in France. When the consumer arrived at the location she paid the total amount due in cash and the hotel provided her with an invoice to confirm this. Unfortunately, sometime later, the consumer found that she had been charged again by the online booking platform via her credit card. The consumer tried to clarify that she had already paid the amount due, however, she was not in possession of the invoice she had been provided with as she did not anticipate that she would still need it. The online platform maintained that they would not be able to issue a refund until the invoice was provided. The consumer had tried to contact the hotel to request a copy of the invoice, while providing them with the details of when she had made the payment and the amount charged. However, the consumer only received automatic notifications from them rather than clear responses to her claim.
ECC Ireland investigated the matter further and colleagues at ECC France contacted the trader on behalf of the consumer. As a result, the hotel provided the consumer with a refund of the amount she was incorrectly charged.
Consumer query of the month:
Q: In January I booked accommodation for a holiday in Lanzarote through an online travel agency based in the UK. I provided my bank details to make the payment but then they also asked for a copy of my passport. As everything seemed fine I provided this. They took the payment, but I received no communication from them after this. When I went to the website to check about what to do I was shocked to find that the website is no longer working. I only made the payment a month ago! I think the trader has now set up a website under a new name. What can I do?
A: Unfortunately, it seems you have been the victim of an online scam where websites set up for a short period take consumers’ money and then disappear. The good news is that as you paid with your credit card you should be able to go to your credit card provider and ask to avail of chargeback. Since the payment was only made a month ago, you are also within the timeframe to do this – usually banks/credit card providers allow about 120 days for chargeback from the time of the payment, so it is crucial to do this as soon as possible. The other thing you can do is report the matter to the Garda Economic Crime Bureau. As you provided your passport you may need to think about other security measures so make sure to talk to the bank about this too.
If you want more information about this or any other cross-border consumer issue, please contact us on 01 8797 620 or go to www.eccireland.ie. You can also follow us on Twitter.
Press and Communications Manager
The European Consumer Centre is part of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net), which covers 30 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland), and offers a free and confidential information and advice service to the public on their rights as consumers, assisting customers with cross-border disputes. ECC Ireland is funded by the European Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the European Consumer Centre cannot be held responsible for matters arising from any errors or omissions contained in this publication. The information provided is intended as a guide only and not as a legal interpretation.
© 2020 – European Consumer Centre (Ireland), CLG incorporated in Ireland, No. 367035, Registered Charity No. 20048617 – CHY14708. Located at MACRO Centre, 1 Green Street, Dublin 7.
This ebulletin was funded by the European Union’s Consumer Programme (2020).
The content of this ebulletin represents the views of the author only and it is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture, and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.
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