Scam alert as police investigate discount holiday package firm

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borderers have been warned to be on their guard against the latest scam to target the region from the USA, writes Kenny Paterson.

Lothian and Borders Police have been contacted by detectives in Florida investigating Your Holiday Getaway, thought to be trying to defraud elderly people in the UK.

The company is alleged to be offering fraudulent discount holiday packages, paid for using a credit or debit card.

Those who book a holiday later find that other transactions have been made without their knowing.

A 76-year-old woman from Coldstream had £1,500 stolen from her account earlier this year.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “We, along with other British and European police forces, are currently assisting colleagues in the USA with their investigation into the Your Holiday Getaway company.

“Anyone from our force area who believes they have been the victim of fraud as a result of dealing with the company is asked to contact police immediately. Similarly, anyone with any other information that can assist with this investigation should also get in touch.”

And another warning has been issued after a 72-year-old Galashiels man was asked to pay a £1,600 settlement from a caller claiming to be a solicitor acting on behalf of the Registrar of Unwanted Call Service. The stunned pensioner was told he was being sued for damages.

Police say claims were untrue and an attempt to cheat the man out of his cash.

Detective Constable Rory Caverhill said police were constantly being informed of attempts to steal money from Borderers.

He told TheSouthern: “Last month we had someone phone a member of the public claiming to represent a long-lost relative and the person was in line to pick up £100,000 if they paid £5,000 up front.

“These things do not happen and everyone should be very wary if they receive such a call.

“We are seeing more attempts by fraudsters to use Ukash vouchers as payment, which can be bought to send money over the internet.

“We are trying to speak to vendors to see whether they can ask someone who buys a large quantity of the vouchers why they are doing so, much like a bank does when you withdraw a large amount.

“You get nothing for free so if you are offered something that appears too good to be true, it usually is a scam.”

Despite constant press warnings from the police, there are still people being taken in by various cons currently in operation.

DC Caverhill said: “They think ‘It will not happen to me’, but then when they see the offer of money it is either greed or naivety that means they get involved with these fraudsters.

“These people are likely sitting in an office anywhere in the world and phoning countless people. But all they need is for one person out of 10 they try to be convinced by the scam.”

The detective advises members of the public to ask for contact details from a caller if unsure of their motives, and keep any suspicious letters.

“The people who carry out these scams have total disregard for the person losing money, whether they are elderly or young or it is their life savings. They are simply thieves.”

Anyone with any information on Your Holiday Getaway can contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or the charity Crimestoppers in confidence and with anonymity on 0800 555 111.

Information and advice on how to avoid a scam is also available from www.eastscotlandforum.org.uk