Watch out for con men with bad cheques

B&B money trap

Prevent becoming a victim of a money trap!

Recently the team of gets a lot of reports about con men. They try to swindle B&B owners out of their money by means of bad cheques or credit cards. Prevent becoming a victim of these con men too and read the following information carefully!

False reservation request
The con men are operating as follows. You will receive an e-mail with a reservation request, often for several nights and for several people.

The con men pose as an organisation arranging a trip for a group of clients. The e-mail actually seems to come from a legitimate tour operator or university. Pay attention to words in the e-mail like ‘delegates’, ‘Christian organisation’, ‘Christian summit/Evangelization’, ‘research’ and ‘couple coming for their honeymoon/wedding’.

Much too high amount
If you confirm the booking, the con men will send you a cheque for a much too high amount. For example, you will receive a cheque for 6,000 Euros for a booking worth 2,000 Euros.

The con man will tell you that the remaining 4,000 Euros are meant for car rental, flight tickets, a wedding dress, boat tickets or any other purchase. Next, the con man will ask you to transfer this money to bank account XXXXX. At first, the cheque will be accepted by your bank and the amount appears on your account. So, your mind is soothed and you transfer the 4,000 Euros.

Bank reclaims money
Not until a few weeks later your bank or credit card company will discover that the cheque or credit card was forged or stolen. The full 6,000 Euros will be reclaimed from your account. Moreover, you have lost the 4,000 Euros you already transferred. Because the money is already out of the country by then, you do not have the opportunity anymore to get it back.

A variation to this type of con is as follows. The con man will pay you an amount and will then cancel the booking. Next, he will ask you to deposit the money, minus a so called generous compensation for your effort, to another account.

Do not respond!
We advise you not to respond to e-mails with this tenor! Pay attention to bank cheques and credit cards for too high amounts. Also, never refund any money. And even more important: if you do not trust the situation, refuse the request.

About the author

Janneke Scheepers

Janneke Scheepers is web editor at Bed & Breakfast Europe. She writes blogs, articles and newsletters about all aspects of the B&B sector in Europe.


  • I have a strange situation with 2 different requests to rent rooms, each of them asked to pay by PayPal and also asked me to open an account with PayPal. The text on both mails was almost identical, except the names were different and the rental period also. I wanted to know if this has happened to someone before and if anyone knows how the fraude could happen by paying through Paypal? I appreciate all suggestions.

    • We own a B&B in the south of France and we receive many of these false reservations. It seems that they all come from the UK, and from Germany. Even with Paypal they can request the return of their money, but I guess that Paypal does verify the amounts and check the bank of the sender, which has to be approved by paypal. That said, there are also false paypal accounts, so it is really tough to see who is real or not.

  • Dear BnB Owners

    Please help spread the following information about a conartist/fraudster who is targeting Bnbs in Europe, especially France. He is an Serbian born/Australian citizen who speaks fluent English, Serbian and German. He is in his mid 50’s but looks older, about 6 feet tall, very thin, very short grey hair, blue eyes, gaunt angular face.. He is a chain smoker and addicted to pain killers. He often turns up with the story his credit cards etc were stolen. He is usually alone and moves around from hostels, Bnbs etc. The last hostel that we know of where he stayed, was the Paranjib Guesthouse in Paris where he paid with a stolen cheque. He uses various aliases including Guy Matthews, Scott Billinger, Gordon Maverick, Gordon Michael McCormick, Adrien Albert Basile (he has a fake french passport in this name). He may use these names with different spelling or another name. He may also tell you that he is a Colonel in the Australian air force. He may be driving a stolen UK registered motor vehicle (a dark blue Honda CRV, rego number YB52 HZN, 2003 model). He is a professional conartist and very convincing. He is known to the Dutch, German and French police. Contact me if you want photos of him or other information. Also please contact me if you have come across him. [email protected]
    We need to spread the word about this conartist in France and western Europe so that he can be caught.

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