Northern Ireland

Woman (23) arrested over social media Portrush rental scam


A 23-year-old woman has been arrested in connection to a scam in which advertisements were falsely posted on social media of a property to rent in the Portrush area.

Images of a genuine house, unbeknown to its owners, were used to dupe victims into paying deposits for the accommodation.

She was arrested in the Belfast area on suspicion of multiple counts of fraud by false representation and remains in custody at this time.

Detective Sergeant Gardiner said: "The victims used PayPal to pay sizeable deposits of several hundred pounds, the suspect always requesting they do so through the Friends and Family payment function. However, after payment, the victims did not receive any further information and in many cases were blocked by the profile. The result was that the victim was left out of pocket and their hopes of a summer getaway dashed.

"We believe at least 24 people fell foul of this fraud and there may be others out there who have lost deposits. We would ask that they contact us on 101 so we have a fuller picture on the extent of this scam.

“This arrest is an important development in our ongoing investigation and sends an important message that your actions have consequences. An online crime hiding behind bogus names does not mean that we will not come knocking on your door.”