A Reminder to Watch Out for Holiday Accommodation Scams!

Durban SkylineBefore the 2012 / 2013 festive season we posted a warning about scams. Unfortunately one of our users was caught by a scammer in one of those holiday accommodation scams a while ago. An article about this was published in the Beeld recently.

The Junk Mail user (Mr Louw) responded to a holiday accommodation advert on our website, which read as follows:

“Warner beach luxury self catering 3 bedroom two bathrooms pool , lock up garage , secure , remote accses , neat and tidy pics available , near beach and shops , sea view call wilfred at 0760831678 or …”

The “advertiser” who called himself Wilfred requested that Mr Louw pay a deposit of R2800 to confirm his booking for the accommodation, which he did.  The scammer came across as very nice and continued to phone him daily to ask him when he was leaving for holiday. He asked Mr. Louw to give him a call when he was past Pietermaritzburg on the way to the coast so he could meet him in person at the unit in Warner Beach.

Mr Louw left Pretoria at 3 AM on the day he was supposed to book into the accommodation at Warner Beach. When he reached Pietermaritzburg he tried phoning Wilfred, but he did not answer his phone. They finally arrived at Warner Beach at the unit, but was greeted by two other groups of people who also responded to the advert. There was no sign of Wilfred. The whole ordeal cost Mr Louw and his family R5000. A case has been opened with the Brooklyn SAPS in Pretoria regarding this. Besides using the 076 0831678 telephone number in the advert Wilfred also used the following e-mail address: Fredleon@nokiamail.com.

Don’t get caught by Holiday Accommodation Scams! Remember this when you’re responding to a holiday accommodation advert:

  • Ask the advertiser for at least 2 references. If the advertiser claims to be working for a reputable timeshare agent (like RCI, Holiday Club) double check if he / she is indeed affiliated with them / employed by them and if the e-mail correspondence is actually from them.
  • Be on the lookout for flamboyant language in the email that may contain promises that seem unrealistic.
  • Verify the address of the accommodation independently. Check if the address actually exist. An easy way to do this is to use Google Maps.
  • Be vigilant if you deal with an advertiser that uses a  web based e-mail account. (like “@hotmail.com”, “@live.com”, “@gmail.com”, “@yahoo.com”, “@yahoo.co.uk”). Accounts like these can be created in under 5 minutes online.
  • Be very cautious when you are requested to make an urgent payment to secure bookings, this should be a red flag.
  • Verify the information before parting with your hard earned cash. Verify the existence of the accommodation and if the unit is actually owned by this person and is available for the time period before booking it.

Spread the word about Holiday Accommodation Scams! Share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is Caring.

If you have been a victim of a timeshare / holiday accommodation scam please contact Junk Mail Customer Care and provide us with a full account of what happened. Remember to include the phone numbers, e-mail addresses and e-mail documentation that you might have received in your report. For more information about scams, check out our Safety & Security page.

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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8 Responses

  1. Good morning,
    I think i have just been scammed!!! Paid a deposit to LInda du Plessis, cell nr 0715177436. She adertised accommodation for 54 Spring Tide in Amanzimtoti, he pace did exist. Where do I dtart to report this woman, I have a photo of her from her profie pic. she used email adres:amanzimtotiholidayskzn@gmail.com

    • Hi Lizanne,

      I am so sorry to hear this. Please contact your bank to see if you can reverse the payment (if it was an EFT). You can also contact your closest Police Station to lay a complaint.

      Our Customer Care Department will be in contact with you shortly!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Lizanne,

      How can i get the photo from you?

      We are busy tracking them, and your assistance would be much appreciated.

  2. HENNING says:

    this guy just contacted me I think its a big scam.there is no phone number abd he is living iGood day ,

    First of all I want to thank you for contacting me and for your interest in my car. The car was verify by an authorised mechanic and he established that the car is 100% perfect condition, no accidents, no scratches or dents, no hidden defects, it is the original paint, real Km’s, all custom taxes are paid and in order with the papers to run in South Africa ( currently the car is registered in South Africa ).The price I am looking for my car is correct and is little negotiable. I sell it cheap because I just moved to London, UK and I can not register the car here, because it is registered in a country outside the European Union and the taxes are too big.
    The car is closed in a rented garage in South Africa with all papers and i want to sell as soon as possible. So,if you are still interested to buy this car , i can come in South Africa in 4 days and make the deal in person.

    I will wait your answer and i will tell you more about how we can forward with this deal ( please contact me only if you have the money available for buying )
    n the uk. see his email HERE IS MY REPLIE:Gooday Jeff
    Please deliver the car at 86 Robyn street Klerksoord Acacia as soon as the car is cleared with engine and chaise no. the Sapd clearance offices is right next to me I will also contact a Superintendent at metro police with the numbers as soon as it is cleared I will pay you with bank transfer or cash whatever you prefer. Please note I will not be paying a deposit AS SOON AS EVERYTHING CHECKS OUT I CAN ALSO PAY YOU IN DOLLARS OR EUROS OR POUNDS IF YOU PREFER. I DONT THINK I WILL HERE FROM HIM AGAIN

  3. Natalie says:

    My niece was also scammed by Linda Du Preez, Said she had the property in Zimbali Estate. Can sleep up to 18 people. She said she owns Dijavu Construction, always made herself busy, saying she at a health and safety conference. she sent pictures of the place as well.She gave her number as well, 0798391459. What can we do


    • B says:

      You aren’t the only one scammed by a person with the contact number 0798391459. Its a male and female working together. He calls himself Adv. Chris De Beer and uses the address in Zimbali as his own to scam people further

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