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Maybe another renting scam


Lynn Jennings

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Hi folks

Anybody had emails like the one I have received which I have pasted in below.  Within 6 days I had received 2 enquiries from the same website from 2 different Dr's and I thought that in itself was too much off a coincidence.  Their emails are not very good and I expect they are using a translation site. 

Hello ,
Am Dr Sebastien from Abbotsford BC, i made an enquairy that me and my family will like to know how you run this rental, and there is no respond regarding my request ,well we are on a vacation for this date below .
Date: 5th of January 2008
Time of arrival:10 am
No of people:2 adults and one son,
well we are referring to that will wanted to rent your apartment that you have for rent on a monthly rental or weekly basic rent for three Months or 2 weeks rental.

 

Which is the safest way to be paid if I don't live on site?   I thought maybe being paid by internet banking would be risky so I telephoned the bank and they didn't seem to know so I wasn't convinced it was safe, does anybody use this system.

 

Regards Lynn

 

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We still get them from the Liberian Embassy {NOT]   saying they have workers whose contract has just finished can they rent for 3 months and is the place for sale as payment can be made etc etc. I'm amazed anyone ever bother to send them anymore never mind replying to them.

Regards

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It varies, but often involves overpayment by the scammer (supposedly by accident, or for some other service like car-hire).  The overpayment is made from a non-existent bank account, or stolen cheque book.  The money seems to be in the gite owner's bank account.  The scammer then cancels the booking, and demands repayment. 

Some weeks later it becomes apparent that the cheque/payment never cleared, and that the scammer has walked away with a repayment that he or she never paid in the first place.

 

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Hi Cat

Thanks for that link  - yes it is the same and she, yes it is a she, as her other emails comes through as Dr. Sebastien Lisa has been persistent with me as well as to the lady on the link.  The second Dr. that emailed me was the same telephone number as Dr. Sebastien all but a digit short, so its not just a coincidence but I believe a scam.  I have put there email below for peoples records just in case......

The enquiry details are as follows:

Name:  Dr Sebastien
Email:  
dr.sebastien@yahoo.co.uk
Tel:  +447045768428
Rental from : 11/11/2007
Rental to : 30/03/2008
Number of weeks : 0

Number of weeks : 0

The enquiry details are as follows:

Name:  dr joel
Email:  m.hank@yahoo.com
Tel:  +4470457684428
Rental from : 05/03/2008
Rental to : 05/04/2008
Number of weeks : 4

The Enquiry:

hello this dr joel interest in apartment mail me for futher info look fwd to read from you sooner

 


I emailed Dr. so called Sebastien and said I would need to see evidence of a utility bill of where she lived.  Also if they were paying by cheque it had to be for the correct amount or I would send it back due to the fact there were scams going about that we are aware off and we stick together and follow guidelines, I did of course apologise if this sounded rude but you just don't know who you come across these days.  Of course I havn't heard a dicky bird from either of them!

To Patf


Hi Pat  I have been occasionally visiting the web site but not posted anything for ages.......I did a few posts when I first started but that was on the old style forum and the number of posts have not been brought forward, so I will just have to make up for my quietness![:)]

 


Thanks everybody for such quick responses and I will pass on the info onto other sites just to warn people - its times like this when its good to be able to call on fellow gite owners and stick together.  Hopefully to eradicate scum that prey on hard working folk!

Regards Lynn

 

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Unfortunately it's a sign of the times. The biggest problem is not being able to report these type of scams to the authorities. The UK serious Fraud Office will only deal with scams that involve over £1M and tell you to report lesser value scams to your local police station. If you look on the Metropolitan Police website it says much the same thing. The reason for wanting to report them in the UK is that the phone numbers are prefixed with 0044.

Unfortunately the Office of Fair Trading are not interested in these sort of scams. They offer loads of reasons but the real reason for not offering a national reporting service is, and I quote (from Mike Haley head of the OFT Scambusters team), "We would be overwhelmed". If you want to read the whole text of his comments to the House of Lords Science and Technology committee click HERE I personally loved the bit where he said he was only interested in "real world" scams, so what are these then, fantasy scams?

Cassis's idea of having a central list of scams is very good. To be able to look at a definitive and current list of scams would be great especially to new owners. Such a list needs to be kept central in a place which directly relates to the B&B/Gite business. Some while back such a thing was suggested to around half a dozen of the most prominent rental websites as a value added service for their owners. The overall response was that every entry would have to be checked to see if it was a real or not to protect them from being sued by genuine people and that they did not have the time or personnel to do such a thing even when it was put to them that it could enhance their sales.

Some of the phone numbers actually work, this is one belonging to several people 0044 7024016440 and the scammer is real and answers the phone. I spoke to this number today, the guy can't remember which name he used and when we finally got to the name it was of course his friend who was not there but he could deal with the rental on his friends behalf. They want to pay by Euro cheque (yeah right) which is how the scam is instigated. The number I have given has turned up on a few emails. The person who answered the phone had a voice similar to one that you might come across in the African continent.

If you have the time, or the inclination, you can have some fun with these people but do use a yahoo or other email address. Asking for a passport photo is a good one on the basis of French 'anti money laundering laws' require one. Tell them they must be holding a board with their name on and to send a copy of something that proves their address.

If you are not sure that it is a scam then the best test is to open a PayPal account and tell them to send their deposit or whatever by credit/debit card. If it's a fraud you will probably never hear from them again.

If you want a little revenge you can phone them like I did (use number withheld facility) and then tell them at the end of your conversation you are from the Serious Fraud office and that they should wait by the phone because you will be visiting them within the next hour or so with somebody from the nearest police station.

I was pleased to see that I recieved an email from www.france-rental.com telling me that the email I received was 'doing the rounds' and that it was a scam. Nice to see Archant are on the ball, I wonder if they would like to run such a database?

 

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[quote user="Quillan"]

Cassis's idea of having a central list of scams is very good. To be able to look at a definitive and current list of scams would be great especially to new owners.

[/quote]

The only downside being that the list would be so huge with so many new entries on a daily basis that it would be completely impractical, of course. 

There are loads of sites if anyone wants to spend time reading about scams.  Two of the best:

www.scambusters.org/

www.hotscams.com/

Anyone can find plenty more on Google.

Plus Microsoft's website has basic info on spotting phishing scams.

Here's a thought - if they put room rates up to 1$million dollars a night, then we could UK owners report scammers who try to book a room to the serious Fraud Office?

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It would be awful, wouldn't it, if everyone that received an email from "Dr Sebastien" were to reply like this...

 

Hello Dr Sebastien from Abbotsford BC, me and my family will like to know if we can make appointment with you for care, and well we will all be sickly on this date below .
Date: 5th of January 2008
Time of arrival:10 am
No of people:2 adults and one son,
well we are referring to that will need treatment at you.  Please to indicate at your first soon how much we must to pay to you or your welcoming woman.

[6]

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[quote user="Quillan"]

If you are not sure that it is a scam then the best test is to open a PayPal account and tell them to send their deposit or whatever by credit/debit card.

[/quote]

Best not - they might 'pay' and later - much later - instigate a CC chargeback, which results in funds in one's PayPal account being frozen until the outcome is decided (which may or not be in your favour depending on how well the scammer knows how to play the system). There are other pitfalls too, but I won't detail them on a public forum!

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[quote user="Jo Taylor"][quote user="Quillan"]

If you are not sure that it is a scam then the best test is to open a PayPal account and tell them to send their deposit or whatever by credit/debit card.

[/quote]

Best not - they might 'pay' and later - much later - instigate a CC chargeback, which results in funds in one's PayPal account being frozen until the outcome is decided (which may or not be in your favour depending on how well the scammer knows how to play the system). There are other pitfalls too, but I won't detail them on a public forum!

[/quote]

Scammers will not touch PayPal or any system that validates credit/debit cards. People who steal credit cards don't tend to book holidays (unless they are totally stupid) because you and the authorities would know where they are i.e.on holiday at a given place at a certain time.

We use PayPal for all our non French deposits now and have a backup (or second) account, neither costs anything to set up although we have never had a problem in six years. You should never leave more than 100 Euros in the account at any one time anyway (with 100 Euros plus you get free bank transfer). Once the money has been transfered PayPal cannot take it out of your bank account. I know this because I bought something on Ebay once and it never arrived and PayPal could not get the money back because it had already been transfered to the sellers bank account.

I wouldn't accept full payment via PayPal because the commission rate is to high.

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People who steal credit cards don't tend to book holidays (unless they are totally stupid)

Yes, of course - silly me, I was having a senior moment there! They normally do it for tangible goods, there'd be no point 'stealing' a holiday!

 I know this because I bought something on Ebay once and it never arrived and PayPal could not get the money back because it had already been transfered to the sellers bank account.

This would only occur if the seller's listings don't have 'Buyer Protection' (top right, beneath 'Meet the Seller' / Informations sur le vendeur' there's 'Buy Safely - See how you're pretected' / Achetez en confiance - Vérifiez la protection applicable à cet achat'). Properly verified sellers will have a level - say €1,000 - up to which you are covered; even if the seller empties their account PayPal will recompense the buyer (and freeze the seller's account until they've recovered the funds).

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[quote user="Lynn Jennings"]I was thinking about using my Paypal account to try and get round being scammed but now you are worrying me that this is open to fraud.  What are the other pitfalls, please tell.  I was going to ask you via private message but don't know how to do it der![/quote]

Hello Lynn, your post appeared while I was typing the last one (and taking dogs out!). As above, you're fine for accommodation payments; I was having a 'der!' moment there. The other pitfalls apply only to people selling tangible goods.

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Hi

 

Please see the attached email I got from Dr Sebastien.  Any ideas what the scam will be?

 

Good Day Mr Jonathan,

    Am very sorry for not replying the mail you sent me on time, you know i have to inform my wife before making any step concerning our vacation holiday and she is out of state for some reason and to get her is not easy untill late night am able to call her, But we discuss the price of the rental as you have mail me before and she said the price is Okay and managemable, that we can rent at the given price but i will like to know how equip the rooms in the house also, i want to confirm from you if you can be able to pick my family up from the air port on the arriving date and i hope to get the key to the house directly from you not any other parties and i want to know if the house is were you live or you are living far from where the property is located
  you can let me have the information below to direct the rental payment Name that will be on the payment Bank Draft or Cheque :
Address :
City :
Zip Code :
State :
Country :
Contact Number :
   Await to read from you with the following information, so that i can make the rental payment send.
 Best Regard
Sebastien

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[quote user="Jonathan"]

Hi

 

Please see the attached email I got from Dr Sebastien.  Any ideas what the scam will be?

 

Good Day Mr Jonathan,

    Am very sorry for not replying the mail you sent me on time, you know i have to inform my wife before making any step concerning our vacation holiday and she is out of state for some reason and to get her is not easy untill late night am able to call her, But we discuss the price of the rental as you have mail me before and she said the price is Okay and managemable, that we can rent at the given price but i will like to know how equip the rooms in the house also, i want to confirm from you if you can be able to pick my family up from the air port on the arriving date and i hope to get the key to the house directly from you not any other parties and i want to know if the house is were you live or you are living far from where the property is located
  you can let me have the information below to direct the rental payment Name that will be on the payment Bank Draft or Cheque :
Address :
City :
Zip Code :
State :
Country :
Contact Number :
   Await to read from you with the following information, so that i can make the rental payment send.
 Best Regard
Sebastien

[/quote]

Apart from the bad English I think the highlighted text gives the clue. Not to mentiuon Zip code and State.

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