Worried Northern Ireland parents have warned students to be on the alert about a bogus landlord Internet scam.
A Derry father said his son paid a deposit to a man who claimed he had a house for rent in south Belfast.
However, after his cash and bank details had been handed over he realised the property never existed for rent.
He was just one of a group of students who lost hundreds and hundreds of pounds in the rip-off.
The cases emerged in a review of reports on Internet-related crime by the Metropolitan police force.
Bargain properties that are advertised on free listings|websites are typically involved in the scam.
The National Union of Students said there has been a rise in the number of such cases.
Parents in Northern Ireland caught up in the scam|contacted Foyle MLA Martina Anderson, who said some had paid deposits up to £800.
“They spent weeks trying to get paperwork and keys, both of which never materialised,” she warned.
“The owner never answered their calls, the contact ran cold and they lost all their money,” added Anderson.