Holiday Rental Accommodation Booking Scams

Rental Scams and Fraud !.
Usually things that sound too good to be true, aren't true at all
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Usually things that sound too good to be true, aren't true at all. We think it is essential that any owner advertising for rental, short or longterm should be aware of fraud or scams. Some of these you will be aware of already, if you are new to business then you might not yet be familiar with them. Please make sure you read the articles we provide here, pass them onto fellow holiday home owners and maybe follow some of the additional links we provide at the bottom of this page.

We do not intend to alarm anyone by these facts, they are well documented all over the internet (see our links), we just want to try and ensure that you are aware.

On HolidayHavens we actively investigate any suspicious individuals reported to us who use our enquiry and booking email system. We do log IP addresses of enquiries made, If we are certain that their activity is not for genuine reasons we will block them from accessing the entire web site. Protecting you (and others) from their fraudulent activity in the future.

Nigerian - Cheque and Electronic Fund Transfers
Recent news reports indicate that Internet sellers around the world are still falling victim to overpayment cheque scams to the tune of thousands of dollars. People selling or providing rental accommodation via the Internet should make themselves aware of this type of scam.

Typically, an overpayment cheque scam works like this:
  • A property / holiday home owner places an Internet advertisement with availability.
  • Later, the owner receives a booking, usually via an email.
  • The owner / client agrees on the price, and, often, also agrees to the proviso that he or she refuses any other bookings for the period.
  • The scammers then send a cheque for the item. However, the cheque is for substantially more than the specified amount.
  • The scammers invent some excuse for this overpayment and ask that the balance be electronically transferred to a specified bank account. For example, they may claim that the extra funds are to pay the fees of an agent who is handling the booking or to cover additional costs.
  • The rental owner dutifully transfers the amount out of his or her own funds.
  • Later, the rental owner finds that his or her bank has dishonored the cheque. In some cases, the bank may actually have cleared the funds, but discovers later that the check is a forgery or was stolen.
  • Thus the seller has been conned out of a substantial amount, with little chance of recovering the money. Furthermore, the rental period remains un booked and the rental owner may have rejected legitimate bookings in the mean time.
The supposed clients usually originate out of West African nations such as Nigeria. In fact, it is probable that the same gang of con-artists that run Nigerian loan scams and international lottery scams are responsible for the overpayment cheque scam as well. Like the Nigerian scam, the intent is to draw the potential victim deeper into the scam via a series of emails.

To protect yourself against this sort of scam, never agree to a deal in which the payer wishes to issue an amount for more than the agreed price and expects you to reimburse the balance. The scammers use a variety of excuses to explain the overpayment, but any such excuse should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

Emails are often littered with spelling mistakes and bad grammar. This is a deliberate ploy by the fraudsters to induce the potential victim to believe that he is dealing with uneducated people who would not have the ability to defraud him/her. Nothing could be further from the truth! The majority of victims prove to be professional business people, doctors and lawyers.
West African "419" fraud

The most common scam begins with a letter bearing a Nigerian postage stamp or frank mark (often forgeries) being sent to a potential victim. E-mails are increasingly being used as they are harder for Law Enforcement agencies to intercept. The writer, usually bearing the title of Doctor, Chief or General, will explain that a 'mutual business associate' has suggested that the writer confidentially contact the addressee.

The letter goes on to explain one of the many scenarios. However, certain aspects are usually constant:

  1. There is a large sum of money waiting to be paid out of Nigerian Government coffers for a contract that has been completed;
  2. The writer purports to be a Government Official or acting on behalf of or with the knowledge of a top Government Official;
  3. The writer is willing to share the sizeable proceeds (usually in excess of $35 million) initially only for supplying a foreign bank account number to be used for the transfer of funds;
  4. Secrecy is an absolute must to protect all concerned parties from corrupt government officials who would seize the money if they knew of its existence.
  5. More often than not, the name of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) figures prominently in the transaction although they are not involved in any manner. Most victims in outlying countries envisage a large bank, complete with lines of customers applying for loans, making deposits and withdrawals. In reality the CBN is a government repository for all national monetary reserves in a similar manner to the Bank of England. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) is also often mentioned lending an air of credibility to the woven story again without their knowledge.

As mentioned above the amounts involved are usually represented to be in the region of US$35 million, and the percentage to be paid to the victim in the region of one third of the total.

The letters are often littered with spelling mistakes and bad grammar. This is a deliberate ploy by the fraudsters to induce the potential victim to believe that he is dealing with uneducated people who would not have the ability to defraud him/her. Nothing could be further from the truth! The majority of victims prove to be professional business people, doctors and lawyers.

The scam is so simple that it can be stated to be "please help me spirit US $35 million from Nigeria through your bank account and I will give you about US $10 million for your mere participation!"

Those who contact the fraudsters are about to participate in a "hurdle" race with each hurdle increasing in size as the victim is thwarted each time he is close to the end. By the time the victim has overcome all the hurdles he is in such a state of involvement that he is practically throwing his money at the fraudsters just to finish the course.

At the heart of the scam is the advanced fee aspect. This means that just when the money is about to be transferred some unforeseen difficulty suddenly occurs and fees from the victim are necessary to overcome the problem. There can be a variety of fees sought: a bribe to a Government Official, local attorney fees, VAT, insurance, National Economy recovery fund, customs clearance - the list and invention is immense.

The larger sums are often extorted from the victim when for example he is told that the money has been transferred to a facility out of Nigeria, often in London and it will be released to the victim and his 'Nigerian partner', as soon as a 1% or 2% handling fee is paid. This sum can of course be enormous and can come as a shock to a victim who probably still wishes to continue the transaction as he has already paid some advance fee or fees and is now hooked. Think of the word GREED.

If the victim cannot or refuses to pay he is worked on with a series of faxes and phone calls and invariably ends up apologising profusely to the criminals for his inability to proceed as quickly as they want. Victims, some of whom cannot afford to pay any more, at this stage, often borrow large sums from family, friends and by way of loans. Very often they do not tell the true reasons for borrowing and when later interviewed by police cannot give any reason for this other than remaining loyal to the criminals and remembering the confidential aspect.

LINKS and Aditional Information

419 Coalition - original private resource on Nigerian scams.

UK Serious Financial Crimes Unit

Metropolitan Police Fraud Squad - New Scotland Yard

U. K. Financial Services Authority

Internet 101    Internet Hoaxes


VictimsAgainstScams   Forum on scam awareness and prevention.

Cyber Criminals Most Wanted


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Your HolidayHavens details will appear on facebook & Social Media

Hello !

Here are a few small updates to HolidayHavens. I thought you might like, apart from changing to FREE listings and creating new categories, I have been working on new features to maximise holiday rental property owners traffic online.

When you update your property the details will be posted to facebook, search media is where its at for sharing images and information about your business. Retain your customers and keep communicating... Have you created a page on facebook for your property, it is easy to do.

It is therefore important to keep your listing up to date, so you can now add/edit/delete/reactivate the listing anytime.

There is a £5 fee for featured and additional photos. We have nearly 60GB just in images and this costs us to host on our new UK Webserver, so consider it a one off donation. You can upgrade any time from your free listing if you wish.

If you registered on HolidayHavens as an owner or a guest, do join us on our Facebook page, (See the link on the left!) you may just get that last minute booking you need or want to get in touch.

When you update your property details it puts your listing to the top of our search results and we make sure that your updates get into the world wide web as fast as possible. We do this by taking your details from holidayhavens and posting automatically to Facebook and then twitter. Search engine spiders notice that your website is appearing in relevant and is rich in relevant content to your own website.

We do not promise bookings, we know nobody can do this, but we know website optimisation will help you get the bookings you need.

You can also 'like' holiday owner advertisements, share to pinterest, facebook and twitter.

Its all good for Search Engine optimisation, correctly configured inbound links from quality content pages.

I hope you like the new changes !


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FREE listings for Holiday Owners

Advertise Holiday Rental Property & Accommodation with HolidayHavens for FREE !

Owner Holiday Property rentalsIf you are looking for a cost effective method to advertise your holiday accommodation online then you have found the right place, list your property and details for FREE. We have lots of features right here to get your property and contact details advertised online. It only takes around 5 minutes to get started, you can save your details and come back anytime to update, activate or end your directory listing, you are in total control in your HolidayHavens owner admin area.

Your advert listing activation and re-activation payment is FREE and your advertised property web page will not expire, until you decide to remove or deactivate. We guide visitors to make contact with you directly, we are not travel agents getting involved in your business, listing in the HolidayHavens directory gives you quick, easy online advertising at a budget that will suit everyone..

http://www.holidayhavens.co.uk/images/listing_photos/2_18092012151408.jpgAs soon as your holiday property is activated we will submit your HolidayHavens property directory listing in all of the major search engines, your HolidayHavens holiday accommodation will soon be found by potential guests searching on the internet for rental accommodation. You can log in, update details, upload images at anytime without involving agents or expensive web designers (or their fees).
It is a very easy, quick and cost effective way to advertise your holiday accommodation online.

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