A mum discovered that her family had been scammed when booking a holiday just as they were about to leave.
Emma Reynolds, 37, was stoked to get away with her partner, 10-year-old son, as well as her cousin and her partner, so booked up a cottage near Blackpool and even paid a £100 deposit ahead of time.
Then, they planned out what they’d like to do, and but discovered that they’d been the victim of a scam just as they were about to leave, according to Lancs Live.
The ‘owner’ said that they had a cottage in Lancashire that looked to be perfect for the break, they also seemed to own a caravan in Wales and another in Marton Mere, but it was all a front.
The criminals offered the chance to pay a £100 deposit with the full amount – another £250 – to be paid ‘before or on’ the day of arrival.
Obviously that day never came.
Mercifully, Emma – from Walsall – decided just to pay the initial £100.
Now, the real owners of the cottage have said that they don’t operate under that name – Amy Lucia – and don’t even advertise on Facebook or take payments in the way that Emma paid.
Emma was given a mobile number to contact the 'owner', but couldn't reach her.
She said text messages failed to send, adding: “I sent a WhatsApp message to the number but it didn’t send either which is when I tried calling the number which was off and went to voicemail.
"I searched for Amy on Facebook but couldn’t find her, so I asked my partner to see if she could find her and straight away there she was….so I messaged off her account and as soon as she knew it was me she blocked me again.
“That’s when we knew we had been scammed."
As they set off to leave, with her son sat ‘with a ball on his lap waiting to leave’ they realised they’d been had.
"I went outside and burst into tears because I knew he would be heartbroken,” Emma said.
She then went onto Booking.com to order another B&B somewhere else ‘just so he could go for the weekend’ but the pain has stayed with her.
"It’s sad that a person could do this. It’s not even about the money it’s the principal,” she said.
The real owners also claim they’ve been blocked by the account, which regularly changes name, and have said people keep showing up ‘from all over the UK’ thinking they’ve booked a stay.
The owners have tried reporting it to the police, but have been directed to Action Fraud instead.
They say that the advert looks genuine, and the address and photos are real, but they’ve only got one way of booking, and it’s not what the scammers use.
Emma concluded: "People like this need to be stopped. I hear she is now using Amy’s cottages as a new business name and is still taking booking for this cottage. So more people will fall victim to their scam.
"I hope that people don’t fall victim to anymore of these type of scams.
"Always book through a trusted website or make sure this person is approved and is a proper business. It’s so easy to fall victim and it’s a shame because genuine business owners will suffer because people don’t trust them."
Featured Image Credit: Lancs Live/MEN MEDIA/Alamy
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