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 Post subject: WARNING TO ALL DIVE OPERATORS: SCAM ALERT!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:31 pm
Posts: 213
Location: Bali
Dear Divers,

A friend of mine who's an instructor/freelance dive operator recently received an inquiry from a man named James Thatcher, claiming he was from England and was interested in booking a dive trip. I'm including the correspondence below and my notes for your reference:

James wrote:
Hello,
My name is James Thatcher, I want to make a reservation for 9 people coming to your country from the 2nd of September to the 9th of September 2010 for a scuba dive tour. Your dive package should include Accommodation and also full board meals. If there is availability, kindly let me know about the dates,quotes and accommodation availability as well.

Regards
James Thatcher
37 Grenoble Road
AB54 6RJ London.


Note:
- He did not mention specifically where he would like to dive, which is the first red flag.

Dive Operator responded:
Hello Mr Thatcher,

Thanks for your group interest to dive in Indonesia. I can arrange a full board dive package to Manado from 2-9 September.

First, I need more detail information:

1. Your schedule which is when will you arrive at Jakarta, and your flight back to your country.
2. Do you bring your own dive equipment or you want to rent it?
3. Level of certification of your group member?

Best regards,
Dive Operator


James replied:

what is the total cost for 9 people

Note:
- He was very vague with details and he did not answer any of the standard questions asked by the dive operator in order to give a quotation. He just wanted to know the amount.
- When given a quotation in USD on a dive package for Manado & Bunaken, he responded as such:

James replied:
After my discussion with my friends, we have agreed to send to you 3150 Eur deposit as an advance payment to hold this booking. Due to our acceptance, I will be sending to you my credit card account details that will cover the cost of our booking and other necessary arrangement for us. I have been instructed to pay you for your services and provision of a logistics agent who will take care of

1) Flights and travel insurance
2) International Airport transfer
3)Transportation logistics during our stay

You are to charge for the agent because he does not have equipments to charge credit cards and also due to high rate of credit card theft i want to entrust my card to you only to help me keep track of my card usage. I Plead for your understanding for this. Do let me know how willing you are to assist me in this issue.

So, once you receive the credit card account information, you are required to charge the the total amount of 10,150 Eur. deduct your deposit fee of 3150 Eur and the balance of 7000euros you send to the agent.

I await your reply.

James.


Note:
- He did not mention the name or the company of the so-called "agent";
- What kind of "logistics" agent is not properly equipped to accept credit card payment, especially in the travel/hospitality industry?
- He also failed to mention the details of the 7000 Euros payment for the agent;
- If he was so concerned about credit card theft, why was he eager to give out his credit card information to some stranger (the dive operator) AND 7000 additional Euros over the internet?

WARNING:
A simple Google search of his email address: [email protected] reveals a few weblinks that reported this person as a scam artist involved in money laundering.

Check out: http://www.opulentcouturierblog.com/200 ... -scam.html
A similar case reported by "Anonymous" from the above link:
Anonymous said...
The scam is this: he will approve you to charge his card for $10,000 of which $2000 goes to you for planning the wedding & then you are to write a check to the "logistics agent" (who doesn't have a credit card processing option) for $8000. So, really he's giving you a bad credit card so you will not get any money but then you will be out the $8k for the check which obviously goes to him.
November 1, 2008 10:42 AM


These tricky scam artists have entered the dive industry. Please beware of suspicious sounding emails. If you're unsure of the identity of the sender, try the following:
- Ask for more details on his dive / travel arrangements; accommodations, airport pick-up arrangements, etc.
- Ask for the name of his/her travel/logistics operator if the he/she only books dive trips with you.
- Ask for his/her phone number and offer to call him at a land-line (not a mobile phone) to discuss the details further.
- Google his/her name and email address and see what you can find.
- Ask for a second opinion from someone you trust, perhaps people in the same industry.
- Report the scam to the free mail provider (Yahoo, Rocketmail, etc.) and include the person's email address on this website: http://www.419scam.org/419-freemail-abuse.htm

NEVER:
- Give out your bank account details or any personal information without first verifying the identity of the person you're communicating with.
- This is how we decide to answer his email:

Dear James,

Thank you for your email.

I understand your concern in credit card frauds and we want to ensure that both parties involved are protected from such.

I appreciate your offer to make a deposit for your dive arrangements. I would prefer the following payment methods:
1. Bank Wire Transfer
2. Money Order

In regards to payment for services to your logistics agent, unfortunately I will not be able to assist you on this. You will have to contact the agent directly to arrange for direct payment. I'm sure that your agent will accept wire transfer which is easy to do within bank accounts.

I look forward to hearing from you again.


Please alert other dive operators about this scam.

Thank you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:31 pm
Posts: 213
Location: Bali
I'm no expert but if you receive a suspicious email and you'd like me to review it, please feel free to send me a message.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:31 am
Posts: 77
Location: Candidasa, Karangasem, Bali
Oh..kita juga prnh dpt email serupa. Aq lupa namanya tp permintaan dia juga sama.

Awalnya kita gak curiga sama sekali tp begitu dia mnta kita transfer uang krna blg dia pnya agent yg bakal byr semua cost for diving, kita mulai curiiga. Aqirnya manager kita minta pembayaran di simplify jd paid on arrival. Stlh itu orgnya gak respon lg...

Harap hati2 buat semuanya...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:51 pm
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Location: Jakarta
Yeah! I've received the same from the same James T.

I knew that it's a scam since the beginning...

Be careful buddies! :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:49 pm
Posts: 82
ok,

thanks for the warning.....


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