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Can this be a scam?


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I seem to remember a post some time ago about people who reserve gites then say they need a visa, but I couldn't find it again when I did a search, and couldn't remember if it was some sort of scam, or what.

An enquiry came in on 22/10 for dates in November.  I responded, as always, with details and prices. 

The enquirer reserved on 23/10, and asked for confirmation because they needed to arrange visas.  We don't consider bookings confirmed until a payment has been received so I sent them our booking form and T & C's as well as the bank co-ordinates for a transfer to one of our UK accounts.  (For short notice bookings we ask for payment by direct transfer or PayPal).

On 26/10 they emailed to say they had sent the money to the bank.  (As of this morning nothing has arrived in the account).  No completed booking form (contract) has been received in the post, though, obviously that can take some time.

On 29/10 we received a message saying they had a visa problem because the passport of one of them was expires in March, and the french would not issue a visa until he has a new one.  I quote the next part of the message here,

"If you are unable to refund the money already paid, please advise whether

you are prepared to keep, after deduction of any administration fees, the

balance until such time as we are able to organise the necessary visas.


We should be able to get the matter sorted within the next couple of


I have told them I'm prepared to give them a refund, by cheque from our payments account, once the money has cleared through the receiving account.  I've asked them for an address to send the cheque to.

 I don't know the nationality of these people.  The name sounds possibly South African.  None of their correspondence bears any of the usual hallmarks that make African scams so obvious.  (Hope the scammers never learn to spell, or write good English).  They have not asked for an immediate refund.

The only thing that worries me is that they have our bank account details.  I know we've had some heated postings on that subject before, but we watch our accounts online on a daily basis, and the receiving account, though a normal current account with a balance of a few hundreds in it, is not where most of our money resides.  It's not even the same bank.

Nevertheless, I'm concerned that somone may be scamming me in some way that I haven't considered.

What do you think?




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Looks like one!....

When you consider that they are 'coming on holiday' to your place in November i.e. in the next 4 weeks BUT that they can not sort out their end of the bargain for ANOTHER couple of months!! I would worry.

At least if you receive monies in one account at a different bank from your normal everyday account, you have some kind of safety. As to the account that receives income in, I would make sure with the bank manager that it is kept to a very minimum balance as in less than a 100 of whatever currency you trade in... this way they can't rob you for very much....

Also on subject of scams : watch out in the post (in our area of UK) lately there has been some dodgy mail about Spanish lottery!... My MIL was almost ready to participate !! until I shredded the letter in front of her!


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This sort of thing makes me so angry and I wonder if some African countries are doing SCAM courses for people they seem to produce so many ..   Missyesbut is so right suggesting keeping an account with little in it ....when you send out bank details ...  and may I add  anyone buying with plastic on line  or  where there may be a risk of card  copy and  missuse .....  you use a card with a  provider  with whom you  have requested to maintain  a low limit .

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This is a classic scam tactic. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES REFUND THEM ANY MONEY until you are 100% sure (and have confirmed this with your bank manager) that the money really has reached your account and cannot subsequently be recalled.

What many people don't realise is that these people can transfer money to your account, usually for more than the normal rental amount, then ask you to send them back the overpayment. Then, a couple of weeks down the line, waddaya know, the original amount gets recalled back our of your account, AFTER you have sent them the balance.

Read more about all sorts of scams here: http://www.laymyhat.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=31


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It is one of the oldest ones in the book.  Often used on ebay, when they send a cheque for more than requested and then ask you to mail the balance through an online payment method.  Don't fall for it.  I bet you won't hear from them if you follow previous advice and tell them you only refund after their funds are verified as arrived and cannot be recalled. 
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I too have one on the go at the moment, below is the actual e-mail. I am playing him along for thje moment, but I do not suspect for one moment that it is a genuine enquiry, merely yet another SCAM.

Anybody else had the same one?


I am Ron Crawford.  A one of Suffolk Sheep Association based in Huddersfield. I have a two clients from Asia that would be able to lodge into your hotel apartment for 7 days. Please let me know the amount for one star with 1 bedroom only.  I would be responsible to make the payment also let me know if you will accept a Cheque Issueing from a United Kingdom Bank or Europe Bank for payment.
Awaiting to your quick response.
Thanks and god bless,
Mr Ron Crawford.

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If paying and refunding money is mentioned then it is almost certainly a scam.

Even when no payment is involved then it can be an attempt to get visas, with no intention of actually turning up. We are just coming to the end of organising an exhibition in England and the number of bogus visitor applications we have had to deal with, all involving visas for people from Nigeria or Pakistan, has to be seen to be believed.

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Dear All,

As seen below is the next stage in my e-mail scam saga, the oldest trick in the book, but sadly some people still fall for it.

You will be pleased toknow thgat I have told Ron where he can stick his booking!

Hi Jim And Gail,

Accepted, But we got a called from our clients said that the booking should be for two person for that same period and which is two room seperately. and I want you to be expecting the cheque payment as from next week because i have instructed my financee to issue you the cheque of amount 3450 EUROS on their behalf. As soon as the cheque arrives you will hold out your amount which is £800 and send the excess balance of the money to my clients that they would need for tickets to fly to the france for the business trip and the money should be send via Money Gram or Western Union. In other to come over to your place, i hope i can trust you for my balance?
Waiting to hear from you soon
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We have had several in the same vein.I just bin them. Easy to spot as apart from the spelling mistakes, they usally bring in the God please you bit. On another note, having noticed some of the scams going on ,we visited our bank and got the Director to sign  a letter saying unless it was by our personal visit and instructions, they were not to send any funds to any other account. It did cause a bit of a furore but in the end it was signed and noted on our accounts.

In the UK paper last week was an article about a garage in Sussex ,where the staff had cloned between 2 & 2 1/2 thousand bank cards and had to that date had about £2 million from petrol buyers accounts. Fills you with confidence doesn't it.Cash was being withdrawn all over UK and several other countries.

Biscuit tin sounds saver by the day.

Regards. 5mins St.Malo. www.ourinns.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

They keep on trying, after telling the scamster where he could stick his booking enquiry, I today recieved a cheque for 3450 euros.

The cheque states it originates from Citibank in Frankfurt, posted in Finland.

My bank want to charge me for the privelige of checking its validity, so I will just keep it for posterity.


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I agree with you all that this is a scam.  We have had two weeks rental from a family from India.  They actually asked a friend in the UK to send money on their behalf, the UK friend also vouched for the Visa, and therefore came on holiday with them.  They had a fantastic time, but the first we knew they were from India was when they all arrived at the house.  They were Christian missionaries attending a few conferences - so if they are real, they will do things to make  your life easy - not difficult. 

And they left the house so clean!  I'll have them back any day. M

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To return to the original topic......

Well, after all that, it turned out not to be a scam.  The money turned up in the bank account, we waited a while to make sure there was no problem, tranferred it to another account, got in touch with the nice people who had had a genuine visa problem and returned their money.

I feel a bit ashamed of myself for having doubted them.


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  • 2 months later...

Had this today in my Email box :














123GB Robert S. Kerr Avenue,

Oklahoma City,

Oklahoma 73102,

I quickly googled 'Madic Agency' etc... and I got this :
>>>> http://www.wtay.com/news.aspx?id=64 <<<<
It's the last paragraph that told me to beware.... 
Phewww!! and OH was so happy to get a booking so early in the year that he gobbed it all hook, line and sinker... 
Did tell him that we can't accept credit cards as we don't have the facility for it. Payments are by IBAN only if from abroad or cheques if from UK...
So just in case it arrives at an Email box near you........   

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