Northern Ireland

Online scam: Belfast holidaymaker conned out of £900

Scam graphic
Image caption When the customer did not get a receipt they suspected there was a problem

A Belfast hospital worker has lost £900 after becoming the victim of an online scam while trying to book a holiday.

Using a travel website, they unknowingly transferred money to a bogus property owner.

The victim contacted a host by email through the website and agreed a price for a room in Amsterdam, but the host requested payment outside of the website's normal channels.

When the customer did not get a receipt they suspected there was a problem.

The website later confirmed that payment had not been properly conducted through its business channels.

It has now been established that both the accommodation and the host were bogus.

'False payment details'

A spokesperson for the Trading Standards Agency said: "This highlights how scammers are targeting unsuspecting people by using increasingly sophisticated and manipulative tactics.

"This was the first time the consumer had used the website and had innocently conveyed this to the host.

"This facilitated the scam. The consumer had no reason to suspect they were being duped when they were sent false payment details."

Bill Malloy, TSS, said: "Ingenuity knows no bounds when it comes to fleecing consumers of their money.

"With the internet, scammers and victims don't meet face to face. The scammer can be anywhere in the world. Do not be rushed into sending off money to someone you do not know, especially by bank transfer.

"As a safeguard, try and use a credit card or debit card to make payment."

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