Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spot the scam booking

Received a direct email today about the Gite (which I've slightly obfuscated with X's in case the email addresses are real):
From: "Mr.Morgan XXXX"

Good Day Sir/Madam,

I need to make reservations for an organisation of three people who will be coming to your country for a programme.They are going to lodge in your place during their stay.Three rooms will be needed from 15th-25th June 2007 and I will like you to provide accomodation for them for the time period. 3 rooms will be needed. Please provide me with the total cost for their stay for 10 nights for 3 people so that reservation will be made immediately. I hope you accept Credit Card Payments.
Get back to me ASAP so that we can proceed with the booking.


This is so obviously a scam attempt that deserves straight to go into the Deleted bin.

Firstly I never leave my email address directly on the Gite website, instead I use a 'contact us' booking enquiry form to cut down on email harvesting by spam-bots. Unfortunately not all other sites I have advertised on are as diligent so some email addresses I use have been 'captured'. Looking at the message source code I could see it was actually sent to one of these addresses rather than the 'to:' address that appears above.

Secondly the English of the 'supposed enquiry is poor, and the text is quite generic. There's nothing in it to indicate what area the three people want to be staying in, nor of the programme details they're coming to see, nor even the country name. If you or I were sending a real booking enquiry it would be more specific about location, country, venue, etc. This email can quite easily be sent to hundreds of other property owners - as the email address used is undoubtedly on a spam list I'm sure it has been.

Finally the email isn't even targetted at the right sort of business. It's written as if I were a hotel renting out rooms, not a holiday Gite.

About the only thing that's missing from this scam (which I've seen on other scam emails I've received is an offer for the 'guests' to pay me more than the rental price and for me to wire back (e.g. using Western Union) the difference. Perhaps if I replied to the email that'd be next. Instead it's the delete key for this one ...

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