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  • FIRST POST
    Calum
    Holiday Scam - warning! (Holiday Lettings/Pay Pal)
    • #1
    • 24th Jun 09, 2:04 AM
    Holiday Scam - warning! (Holiday Lettings/Pay Pal) 24th Jun 09 at 2:04 AM
    Hi all,

    I have lost £980 due to this fraud so I have posted the article from the Cyprus mail which explains it well. If anyone has and advice for me and the many others affected that would be great.

    Pay Pal say: out with 45 days, not our problem
    Holiday Lettings: we just advertise, not our problem although they surely have some duty to make sure the apartments at least exists??

    Calum


    Cyprus Mail 15th June :

    Tourists fleeced in Cyprus apartment fraud

    Scam could have netted €50,000

    By Nathan Morley

    IT’S BEEN revealed that upto 100 British families have been unwittingly
    duped into renting a non-existent luxury apartment in Ayia Napa – leaving
    many forced to cancel their summer holidays.

    The full extent of the fraud is still unravelling, but it’s thought that a
    simple internet con could have netted over €50,000 by taking deposits and
    full payments from unsuspecting customers.

    The fraud was perpetrated after a bogus seaside apartment was advertised for
    rent on a well-known British lettings website and was quickly flooded with
    bookings.

    However, alarm bells began ringing when several families, who had paid in
    full for the ‘apartment’ on the popular Holiday Lettings website, could not
    contact the vendor and became suspicious.

    “It was advertised at a fairly reasonable price, the dates suited us and I
    paid the full amount to the apartment owner. It was at the very last minute
    I got worried,” one victim of the con told the Cyprus Mail.

    Within a week, internet message boards were flooded with similar stories
    with complaints centered on one man – Samir Hassim, who took thousands of
    pounds in bookings via Paypal.

    Most accounts report Hassim lured customers to cough up between £850 and
    £2,300 for holidays scheduled between May and October this year.

    His advert on holidaylettings.co.uk boasted a luxurious spacious villa, with
    swimming pool, fully fitted kitchen, air conditioners and fantastic view of
    Ayia Napa.

    “Our money was sent to Mr. Samir Hassim via Paypal, he has not made any
    contact with us since, many people have been left with no alternative but to
    try and find other means of accommodation and to pay again,” another
    customer told the Mail.

    Last night Holiday Lettings media officer Kate Stinchcombe confirmed that at
    least five separate police investigations had been launched in the UK into
    Hassim’s Cyprus scam.

    “We took Samir Hassim’s adverts offline in April due to concerns about our
    ability to contact him and therefore the same becoming a problem for
    holidaymakers using our site.
    We have since advised everyone who sent an enquiry to him through our site
    of this,” she told the Cyprus Mail.

    “At the point of allowing him to advertise with us we carried out numerous
    checks in order to verify as much as possible his legitimacy. We had no
    reason to believe his behaviour to be fraudulent at that time,” she added.

    Despite attempts to contact Hassim by the Cyprus Mail, he remains elusive;
    having disconnected his British landline number and only a generic answer
    phone message remained on his mobile.

    As for the apartment itself, all that can be found at the advertised
    location was large empty expanse of dusty wasteland scattered with old oil
    drums and cardboard boxes.

    “This road exists, you are standing on it, but the apartments I don’t know,”
    one bemused local told the Cyprus Mail, even local taxi drivers, who know
    every inch of Ayia Napa were left scratching their heads.

    Paypal, a company that lets customers send money to anyone with email,
    expressed gave concern at the situation last night and told the Cyprus Mail
    they would be urgently looking into the claims.

    Local police told the Cyprus Mail they no immediate comment, but said they
    would look into the matter if an official complaint was made, but it is
    unclear if Hassim has ever actually been to the island.

    The UK's trading regulator has issued warnings about online scams in the
    past and advised caution when booking holidays through private vendors.

    “Be careful, double check on places like Google and if you are caught by
    fraudsters report it to the European Consumer centre or Consumer Direct in
    the UK,” a statement said.

    Tens of millions of British internet users have been targeted by scams in
    the past year, with online fraud is at its highest level ever.
Page 1
    • hollydays
    • By hollydays 24th Jun 09, 7:46 AM
    • 14,022 Posts
    • 9,844 Thanks
    hollydays
    • #2
    • 24th Jun 09, 7:46 AM
    • #2
    • 24th Jun 09, 7:46 AM
    Might also be helpful if you put up the address,or telephone numbers, for google
    • dacouch
    • By dacouch 24th Jun 09, 8:24 AM
    • 19,340 Posts
    • 11,879 Thanks
    dacouch
    • #3
    • 24th Jun 09, 8:24 AM
    • #3
    • 24th Jun 09, 8:24 AM
    http://www.bitterwallet.com/tag/financial-ombudsman-service this might help
  • Calum
    • #4
    • 24th Jun 09, 12:48 PM
    • #4
    • 24th Jun 09, 12:48 PM
    Thanks for the replys.

    The address is:

    (Any Flat Numberr) OCTOVRIOU 2, LIMANAKI HARBOUR, AYIA NAPA, CYPRUS, and CY 5341

    Calum
  • 1LARKIN
    • #5
    • 30th Jun 09, 4:03 PM
    • #5
    • 30th Jun 09, 4:03 PM
    holiday lettings

    We also booked a holiday from this guy Samir Hassim through the holiday lettings website. Holidays lettings assured us that they carry out numerous checks in order to verify as much as possible that this was legitimate however one phone call to the Cyprus Tourist Organisation and they were able to check out the address and advise me that the apartment block does not exist. So doesn't exactly sound like holiday lettings carried out numerous checks. If they did, they obviously missed a very obvious check!!!! Holiday lettings advised us that they have not had a scam like this in 10 yrs however in the Irish Sunday Independent paper published on 28th June 09 it advised of another scam. A lady booked a holiday through holiday lettings co uk where she found a Villa in Javea on the Costa Blanca. The woman emailed the property morairaway.com which was advertised on holiday lettings website. Last Monday they received an email from holiday lettings advising them that morairaway.com was an elaborate fraud which had taken holiday bookings and thousands of euros from hundreds of people throughout Europe.
  • Stabilo
    • #6
    • 1st Jul 09, 5:39 AM
    Samir the scammer
    • #6
    • 1st Jul 09, 5:39 AM
    I was contacted by BBC Radio 4 about this yesterday and it turns out they are broadcasting an article on this scam this Friday.

    Check out my signature if you want to avoid the scam.
    Big brother says 'we’ve had to remove your signature. If you’re not sure why please read the forum rules'. Update your docs as they state: What are signatures?
    'Signatures' contain information that you want to include at the bottom of all your posts. This might include pictures, links to your site(s), quotes, etc.
  • gnaril
    • #7
    • 1st Jul 09, 9:51 AM
    • #7
    • 1st Jul 09, 9:51 AM
    Maybe its just me but why on earth would you pay for a holiday using Paypal.

    Sounds suspect from the get go.

    Hope people affected are able to claim their cash back.
  • Atermis
    • #8
    • 1st Jul 09, 1:30 PM
    • #8
    • 1st Jul 09, 1:30 PM
    High five to the scammer i say for owning and boning alot of people who should of known better!
  • Stabilo
    • #9
    • 2nd Jul 09, 2:08 PM
    Cyprus apartment rentals scam broadcast on BBC Radio 4
    • #9
    • 2nd Jul 09, 2:08 PM
    BBC Radio 4 have rescheduled to Monday. Their emails states the broadcast will be:

    Between 12 noon and 1pm (you can also listen on the You and Yours website later that afternoon - the audio will be up for seven days).
    Big brother says 'we’ve had to remove your signature. If you’re not sure why please read the forum rules'. Update your docs as they state: What are signatures?
    'Signatures' contain information that you want to include at the bottom of all your posts. This might include pictures, links to your site(s), quotes, etc.
    • hollydays
    • By hollydays 2nd Jul 09, 2:27 PM
    • 14,022 Posts
    • 9,844 Thanks
    hollydays
    High five to the scammer i say for owning and boning alot of people who should of known better!
    Originally posted by Atermis

    engage brain before opening gob

    you and yours

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lff6s
    Last edited by hollydays; 02-07-2009 at 2:30 PM.
  • Stabilo
    Holiday lettings scam
    I believe the BBC iPlayer feed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00lff6s/You_and_Yours_06_07_2009/ is available online for the next 90 years!

    Whereas the Real Audio feed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/ram/2009_27_mon_04.ram is available for about a week.
    Big brother says 'we’ve had to remove your signature. If you’re not sure why please read the forum rules'. Update your docs as they state: What are signatures?
    'Signatures' contain information that you want to include at the bottom of all your posts. This might include pictures, links to your site(s), quotes, etc.
  • sunnyfry
    I have also been a victim of an internet villa rental scam. I paid for a villa advertised fraudulently on the website holiday-lettings.co.uk. It was for a villa in Marbella advertised by a Mr Daniel F Dumitrache. Lost over £2000 and a well earned holiday!! Holiday-lettings claim they did all the necessary security checks but he slipped through. It's in the hands of the police now, but don't hold out much hope for getting our money back.
  • bobburrows
    bobburrows
    I also let my apartment through holiday lettings but put some trust in people by allowing payment on arrival and have never been let down.
    • soolin
    • By soolin 10th Nov 10, 9:53 AM
    • 57,039 Posts
    • 40,248 Thanks
    soolin
    I also let my apartment through holiday lettings but put some trust in people by allowing payment on arrival and have never been let down.
    Originally posted by bobburrows
    This is a 15 month old thread in case you hadn't noticed.
    I'm the Board Guide for the Ebay Board , Charities Board , Dosh & Disability , Up Your Income and the Local MoneySaving-England board which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move posts there. However, do remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
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