Travel Gossip saves agent from £2,350 booking scam

By Linsey McNeill
04/01/2023
Home » Travel Gossip saves agent from £2,350 booking scam

A Cambridgeshire agent was saved from a possible booking scam by members of Travel Gossip’s Facebook group.

Ponders Travel had taken a last-minute £2,350 booking for a hotel in Dubai from a customer who had asked for Managing Director Clare Dudley Adams by name, saying they had received a personal recommendation.

Payment was made by credit card but Clare said she ‘just felt nervous about it all’, so checked the Travel Gossip Facebook group to see if other members had had any dealings with the same client.

She spotted a post from one agent who’d lost £3,500 to a scammer using a very similar tactic. They said they knew someone in the agency and booked flights with Ryanair for 10 people at the last minute, paying by credit card. By the time the agent realised they’d used a stolen card, it was too late to cancel the booking.

In the comments under the post, several agents said they’d received suspected fraudulent calls from a woman using the same mobile number as the client who called Clare – 0739 3861473. Each time she claimed to know someone in the agency and on one occasion hung up when she was asked to pay by bank transfer.

After reading the Travel Gossip posts, Clare quickly cancelled the booking without charge, telling the customer that the hotel was full.

Posting on Facebook, Clare said: “Once again, I am so grateful to Travel Gossip

“Make sure all your staff are aware of this [mobile] number. Names don’t help as they use lots of different names. But this number seems to have been used before.”

Three other agents responded to Clare’s post to say they had also received a call from the same number that very same day – and each time the caller claimed to know someone in their agency.

One agent advised only accepting bank transfers as payment for late bookings to avoid similar scams.

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