Monday, 25 February 2008

Interesting Week

We have been 'scammed' for the first time ever. The cheek of it!

Luckily I have read with great interest (on the various Expat sites) about the scams around that target people renting out property.

And we have now joined the legion it seems.

The e-mail below arrived - and I am sure it is one. If it isn't, and I have deleted a genuine enquiry - I am sorry, but not that sorry because we already have bookings for part of the period they wanted!

If you want to follow up the potential booking, you are welcome to.....

Bonjour Mr , Mme ,

Je suis Mr Alain Leblan , j'aimerai faire une reservation dans votre local pour les dates suivantes :15/03/2008 au 15/05/2008.
J'aimerai vous reglez en avance par virement bancaire.
Je tiens a vous dire que nous avons eu votre adresse par nos recherches sur le net , aussi nous venons dans votre local pour notre lune de miel.
Alors si possible veuillez nous faire parvenir par email en pj votre RIB complet ainsi que un contrat de locations y compris la facture globale.
Dès réception de ces documents nous allons faire le necessaires.
Nous sommes en attente d'une reponse favorable.

Mr et Mme LEBLAN .
11 BP 974 ABJ 11

Why I was suspicious:

It was not addressed to us personally and all our advertising uses our specific names.

It was not sent to our e-mail address, but it was 'sent' to the same person it was coming from. Showing it was a 'generated by code' e-mail.

It did not refer to our actual rental property as we had described it. It just called it the 'local'.

It asked for our bank details up front, whilst NOT asking for any details about the property or the area!!

Need I go on?!

Most of the scams I have read about finally come down to the person paying you MORE than your rental fee, and asking you to send on the monetary difference to a particular person/bank.

You put the money they have sent you into your bank account, check it has cleared and then send the extra onwards.

The problem is that certain types of 'deposits' into a bank show up as having been cleared - but when your bank actually tries to transfer the ACTUAL money, it does not come! But by this time you would have sent a cheque (for example) for the difference and this HAS been cashed.

I have probably not explained it very well - so do read up about it yourselves if it is relevant. It is amazing the number of variations there are - but they all seem to boil down to the same thing....
Whilst painting the shutters this past week, a lady approached me to ask (in French) if we were fully booked yet?!

Now, I had to negotiate getting down the ladder, finding a safe place to put my open paint tin and brush - whilst understanding what she had said to me whilst I was facing away from her. Please remember this!

I explained that we had bookings already for various months (I listed them) - was she interested in having some details sent to her? And would she like a look around the apartment whilst she was there.......

Of course she said yes, and we proudly showed her all the fruits of our recent labour.

She asked what we charged roughly, and I gave her the details for the high season which we are soon entering.

She asked what the lowest season's cost was. I explained that the lowest season was just about finished by now?!

And she looked slightly lost, and said 'For 2009?'

Oh! She wants to book for February 2009!!! It seems she comes for the 'cure' every year at this time!!

Wow! Our first potential client for 2009!! I must really get the hang of this rental business......

We always thought that your doctor prescribed a three week 'cure' in response to (and to actually cure!) a specific medical issue. We did not realise that people often come back year after year for the said 'cure'.

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