Beware the scam – Hospitality Industry

Scam AlertA scam is tricking people in the hospitality industry, particularly those running conference venues, and goes something like this.

 

Someone makes contact seeking information about a wedding or some other milestone event and a couple of emails are exchanged to lull the venue into a false sense of security. The scammer then makes a booking deposit payment using a stolen credit card.

Two or three days later, the scammer sends an email advising that they have to cancel the booking as there has been a terrible car accident which has killed a member of the family, injured another and the scammer themselves is injured. As the credit card has been lost in the accident, they request that an alternative credit card be used.

In the most recent case, the staff member declined to refund to an alternative credit card but offered to send a cheque. They believe this to be a safer method.

Through an email exchange the scammer arranged the cheque to go to a friend who was allegedly helping the scammer at this time.

After the cheque has been sent the venue is notified by their bank that the credit card transaction is fraudulent and the deposit amount has been deducted from their account.

They immediately attempt to cancel the cheque, but learn that the cheque has been cashed with little chance of recovery.

 

At the time of writing this posting, the banks involved have refused to assist the venue saying it is their loss and our advice has been to take the matter to the banking ombudsmen for had the banks acted with reasonable dispatch the scam could have been identified earlier and the cheque either never sent, or at least stop the payment being put through before it was banked.

When it comes to insurance, it is vastly by trickery which few policies in the market address. They are deemed to be more a business risk than an insurable one. Hopefully this post prevents others being scammed and I would encourage all readers to share the post with any of your customers or friends which you think may be vulnerable to such a scam.

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