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Duped mum warns over fake caravan holiday scam

Duped mum warns over fake caravan holiday scam
From BBC - October 5, 2017

A woman conned by a fraudster selling caravan holidays via social media has urged others not to fall for the scam.

BBC Scotland has spoken to dozens of people who paid for holidays in static caravan parks only to discover the real owner knew nothing about their booking.

Fraudsters using fake identities have booked families into caravans they do not own and taken the money.

Jane Clark, from Stevenston in Ayrshire, advised people not to believe what they read and make proper checks.

She booked a bank holiday weekend at the Craig Tara caravan site near Ayr and paid 180 plus a 50 deposit.

Holiday offer

Ms Clark said: "It was a last-minute thing and after a look on Facebook I saw an advert."

She sent messages to the Facebook profile and arranged to transfer money to a bank account.

Ms Clark was told to pick up the keys from the holiday park reception at 18:00 on the day.

It was her son who noticed messages on the social media site warning that the holiday offer was a scam.

Ms Clark tried to send further messages to the woman she had booked with but was "blocked" and received no reply.

She said her three children were devastated and she had lost hard-earned money that she could not afford to lose.

Haven, the holiday firm that runs the Craig Tara site, said it had recently introduced state-of-the-art software that seeks to target and report suspicious pages and listings across social media sites.

A statement said: "Whilst we have only experienced a relatively small number of people who have been duped into making fraudulent bookings, we are committed to proactively targeting these sites where we can."

Haven advised customers to only book through "trusted channels" such as official websites, ABTA agents or affiliated third parties.

It said: "We would urge customers not to attempt to make bookings through social media channels."

A Facebook spokesman said: "Ensuring that people have a safe and positive experience when they use Facebook is our number one priority. This is why we have easy ways for everyone to report content and profiles that they suspect may break our Community Standards.

"Our global team of reviewers provide 24/7 cover around the world to ensure we can respond to these reports as quickly as possible."

Preying on vulnerable people

Chief Inspector Scott Tees, who is a cyber-crime prevention officer for Police Scotland. said the problem had become more widespread.

He said the police investigated all the cases that were brought to them but admitted it was often difficult to catch the people involved.

Ch Insp Tees said he understood that people were trying to get the best deal for their families but they were often leaving themselves vulnerable to scammers.

'It reflects badly on everyone'

Family and friends

'People are still doing it'

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