Hoteliers warned of latest e-mail scam

17 July 2006
Hoteliers warned of latest e-mail scam

Hoteliers have been warned to watch out for the re-emergence of a scam e-mail that asks hotel staff to forward large cash amounts to a non-existent travel agent.

The alert has been sounded by the Marston Hotels group, which has received a number of such e-mails in the past week.

One such e-mail said: "You are required to charge the total cost of £9,880 [for room and travel agent expenses], deduct your 50% deposit charge of £2,949 and send £4,000 via Western Union money Transfer [sic] to the travel agent, whose information will be forwarded to you once this is confirmed."

Marston Hotels sales and marketing director, John Cotter said: "We've been plagued by these e-mails - those originating from Africa and the Far East are easy to spot because of the bad English, but those from the USA and Europe are really clever.

"Luckily we haven't been caught out but it would be easy for a junior member of staff in a independent hotel to get sucked in. We have now sent notification to all staff to delete these e-mails as soon as they come through."

In March, the Dormy House hotel in Southampton contacted Caterer after a similar scam e-mail attempted to swindle it out of £1,000 by asking the hotel to forward a payment to a car hiring agent.

Customer or thief? >>

By Ross Bentley

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