The following are a list of scams that fellow owners have warned us about. If you know of any others then please contact us.
"can you refund my money as a close relative has just died”
Short Notice Payment Scam
Premium Rate Phone Scam
Credit Card Refunds
Credit Card Scam (Oct 2009)
BT Telephone Scam (Feb 2010)
You get a person looking to rent your property at the last minute. They want to pay on arrival. They arrive at your property, pay you or your local contact by cheque, yes, another one of those great looking worthless cheques. Later on the same day they arrive, they will call you with the terrible sad news. The timing of this call is important as it will be after the banks have closed. The scammer will seem really upset and tell you they are very sorry but they have to return home as their mother or some other relative has died suddenly. They will ask if you could refund some of their money as they will not now be able to continue with their stay. You will feel very sympathetic towards them or at least the scammer is hoping you will. They will understand that you have to deduct the cost of at least one nights stay plus cleaning charges and ask you to refund them the difference in cash. So whatever refund they get, is what they make on this scam. So, again we say DO NOT REFUND THEM ANY MONEY WHATSOEVER. If they insist on a refund, ask them for a forwarding address and a landline number and you will send them their refund. They won't give you this information and will say anything to get you to refund them in cash DON'T!!!
Someone will ask an owner for a holiday at short notice. (Usually their standard of English won't be good.) They will want to know the price. Whatever is quoted, they will send a cheque for an amount larger than this and will then contact the owner by email to say that they have made a mistake and rather than stopping the cheque and you having to wait for another from them, you can send them a money order for the difference. They have no intention of having a holiday or paying. By the time their cheque bounces and you are informed, they will already have cashed your money order and the address to which you have sent it will likely be empty premises to which they've gained access.
If there is a dispute with a client and you approach PayPal, your PayPal account including all the money you have received from other clients, may be frozen for months until the dispute is settled.
After much referral by them to Terms and Conditions, a representative also finally admitted that anyone receiving payment for a SERVICE by PayPal is not protected should the payment then be stopped. Eg if a client paid by credit card, then decided they didn't want to pay after all, they can put a stop on the payment and there would be no recourse even if you a) had lost income from not being able to relet the week b) they had used the week and the decided it was "unsatisfactory".
County Durham Tourism Partnership has learnt that a national premium rate telephone scam is specifically targeting UK tourism businesses. Accommodation providers and eating establishments should be aware of anyone contacting them regarding disabled access and asking for a return phone call to 07099 800 152. This number is a premium rate line and calls to it can cost up to £12 per minute. The caller is an alleged director of a property company named Aquasita, and usually makes contact via email. Please inform your industry colleagues and friends.
Credit Card Refunds
In the event of you making a Refund to a customer, please remember to observe the credit card company's conditions on Refunds which typically state that refunds must only be made to the Card or Account to which the original Transaction was debited and not by any other method. This has been highlighted because there is a scam where a customer books and pays by credit card. Very soon after the card payment has gone through, they cancel and ask for a return of their payment - either by cheque or to another card number. So you make the refund payment to them but their original card payment to you gets cancelled several weeks later because they have used stolen card numbers.
Credit Card Scam (Oct 2009)
This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want. Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.
One of our employees was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and I was called on Thursday from "MasterCard". The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank) did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for £497.99 from a Marketing company based in London?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from £297 to £497, just under the £500 purchase pattern that flags most cards.
Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?" You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 0800 number listed on the back of your card (0800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?" Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works the caller then says, "I need to verify you are in possession of your card." He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers." There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say, "No," the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of £497.99 was charged to our card. Long story - short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or MasterCard directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report. What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a "Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening.
This was supplied by PCSO 7135 Alison Monks - Lostock Hall Neighbourhood Policing Team
I received a call from a 'representative' of BT, informing me that he was disconnecting me because of an unpaid bill. He demanded payment immediately of £31.00, or it would be £118.00 to re-connect at a later date. The guy wasn't even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental! I asked the guy's name - the very 'English' John Peacock but with a very 'African' accent - & phone number - 0800 0800 152 .
Obviously the fella realized I wasn't believing his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. I asked how & he told me to hang up & try phoning someone - he would disconnect my phone to prevent this. AND HE DID!!
My phone was dead - no engaged tone, nothing - until he phoned me again. Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. I asked how the payment was to be made & he said credit card, there & then. I said that I didn't know how he'd done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn't believe his name or that he worked for BT.
He hung up. Did 1471 & phoned his fictitious 0800 number - not recognised. I phoned the police to let them know, I wasn't the first! It's only just started apparently but it is escalating.
The cutting off of the line is very simple, he stays on the line with the mute button on and you can't dial out - but he can hear you trying. (This is because the person who initiates a call is the one to
terminate it). When you stop trying he cuts off and immediately calls back. You could almost be convinced! The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool the elderly and vulnerable.
Obviously, if this scam is real, once they have your credit/debit card details, there is nothing to stop them cleaning out your account.
The Trading Standards Office is making people aware of the following scam:
A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a Premium rate number).
DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize.
If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £315 for the phone call.
If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 020 7239 6655.
Last Updated November 2010. If you know of any others then please contact us.