There have been various attempts to extract money from property owners by fraudulent activity on French Connections and other similar websites. Read on to find out how to avoid this.
We wish to heighten your awareness by advising of the kind of scam which have previously been received by some of our advertisers.
A common scam is where a property owner might be approached by an enquirer who is seeking a longer-than-usual let and after various communications with the property owner, sends a cheque (or sends a bankers draft) for an amount over and beyond the agreed rental sum. Whilst most cases seem to occur with a longer than usual let, be aware regular lets of 1 or 2 weeks may also be requested.
You will be asked to deposit the ’rental’ cheque in your bank and once cleared, you will be asked to return the ‘difference’ between the rental sum and the amount paid by your ‘client’, to a third party i.e. an ‘agent’ or other contact.
This instruction would never be given by a genuine enquirer, and you should cease corresponding with this ‘client’ in this event.
The UK banking system takes 3 days for clearance of a cheque. It may take 4 days or more for the bank to realise that the issuer does not have the funds to support the cheque and the bank will then withdraw the sum from the property owner’s bank account.
This advice is issued as a guide in good faith by French Connections.
French Connections are not accountable for any adverse experience. Please consult with your bank if you have any doubts.
We do have security measures in place to try to limit scam emails via our enquiry form but these can never be 100% efective. If you think you have received a scam email enquiry then please let us know via the contact us link (select helpdesk) so that we can screen for it in future.
What to look for
There are several common giveaways that can help you identify possible fraud. These do not of course guarantee that a request is fraudulent any more than lack of them guarantees that it is not fraudulent however if you encounter any of these please exercise particular caution.
- Misspellings of simple words or names, or simple grammar mistakes. This can of course be simply because they are not a native English speaker, but be alert to this.
- An offer to overpay using a card or cheque (with the expectation that you will refund the difference to them).
- Claims of representing a company (e.g. booking for a staff member) particularly from a "major" company from Africa or Eastern Europe.
- A repeated enquiry with the same text
- Odd looking email addresses (particularly from free email providers like hotmail, yahoo e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Any indication that they would like something in addition to the property in question e.g. help with a "delivery", or acceptance of a bank transfer in addition to the fee you have agreed to
If you have observed any additional factors that suggest fraudulent activity, please contact us and we will update this recommendation.
If you have any doubts at all please contact us our team will be happy to assist with any queries.