Be on your guard when booking a holiday let or you could become the victim of organised fraudsters, is the warning issued today by Bluemoon Investigations.
Private Investigator Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigation explains how she has seen an increase recently in the number of holidays maker who arrive at their holiday destination to find the apartment they had booked, simply does not exist or if it does, that they do not have a legitimate booking.
Fraudsters will advertise property at attractive rates for holiday rental in the classified section of national and regional newspaper as well as online. The fraudster will often advise anyone who responds to the adverts that he is a member of a respected profession, with his own successful business; this is intended to instil confidence in potential victims. There is often a fake website set up specifically for this scam and victims are given the website address. At face value the websites appears to be a genuine business but really just comprises of information lifted from genuine websites in the same sector.
It is only when the victims arrive at their holiday destination which may be many weeks or months after they made the payment to the fraudster, that they realise this is just a scam. They are then in the unenviable position of having to secure accommodation, if they are actually able to do this, at such short notice, it more often than not results in having to pay a huge premium.
“Just this week we became aware of a family who fell foul of one of these trickers and paid €500 for a week’s accommodation in Puerto Banus for their teenage daughter, who flew out there earlier this week” explains Annie.” Fortunately she already had friends in the area with whom she could stay with, others however will not be as lucky”.
“You can protect yourselves from these tricksters by always booking accommodation through a reputable outlet or through recommendation from families and friends” Annie advises “Avoid booking through classified adverts or from online adverts unless you already know someone who has booked that accommodation before with no problems and only ever make credit or debit card payments through secure websites. If in doubt at all do not make the booking or hand over any payment and if a deal seems too good to be true then it probably is”.