Travel scam website is back up and running
Holidaymakers are offered bogus holiday rentals in Dublin and across Europe
Dublin: A group of tourists from Paris booked and paid for a house in Georgian Dublin for eight days around St Patrick’s Day. However, when they showed up the property owner knew nothing about the arrangement Photograph: David Sleator
Scam artists who stole more than €1,400 from a group of French tourists visiting Dublin last month were back up and running yesterday after a Garda investigation and reports in The Irish Times led to their original website being shut down.
Earlier this month The Irish Times reported on the criminal activities of a group behind a website with the address 360travelonline. com.
The site offered bogus holiday rentals in Dublin and across Europe. Would-be holidaymakers were asked to pay upfront for apartments and houses only to discover when they arrived that either the property did not exist or was not available to rent.
A group of tourists from Paris booked and paid for a house in Georgian Dublin for eight days around St Patrick’s Day. However, when they showed up the property owner knew nothing about the arrangement.
natureWhen they contacted the gardaí, they confirmed it was a scam and an investigation was launched. However, Garda sources said that given the international nature the chances of the crimimals being aprehended was slight.
The site was shut down hours after being contacted by this newspaper. Days later a different version appeared at united-travel.com. A reader contacted us after coming close to being defrauded of more than €2,000. As with the previous site, united-travel.com site offers properties for rent across Europe.
The reader was looking for a holiday rental in Corfu. A Google search led her to united-travel.com. “We’ll Take You There! 21 Years Experience in Holiday Rentals and 10 Years online Trading! We can help you find the best property for your holiday,” the site promised.
SuspicioiusThis reader exchanged a number of emails with a man who identified himself as Christian Schuster. However, she grew suspicious when he was unavailable to give her accurate details as to the location of the property.
She did some more investigations which led her to the article about 360travelonline.com after which she contacted us. United-travel.com uses the same non-existent address in Dublin 6 as used by 360travelonline.com, while the landline number on the new site is the same as the one used previously. The Garda Síochána is investigating.