Thursday, June 19, 2014

Scam Alert!

My family owns a beach resort in Biliran and I handle the online reservations and inquiries. I usually field email inquiries for the resort several times a week, so when I received this email request last week, I treated it like any other inquiry:

Bubbles Tour <>

Hello, Good day to you and please note that we will need accommodation for 3 guests that will be on a short visit to your country. Kindly inform us if there is availability for 3 rooms from September 23rd to 28th 2014 (6 nights). See below for their names: Mr Sean Sampson Mrs Sara Wright Mrs Jane Brighton Do revert back to us with the rates as well as the total cost for the duration of their stay. Waiting for your response. Thanks, Jim. 

Jill Sabitsana <>

to jimmp077
Hi Jim,
I confirm the availability of 3 rooms for September 23 to 28, 2014 for guests: Mr. Sean Sampson, Mrs. Sara Wright and Mrs. Jane Brighton.
Our standard room costs Php1,200/night and will amount to Php7,200/ room for six nights. For three rooms that will be Php21,600 for six nights. We will require a deposit equal to 50% of the total tariff to finalize your reservation. This can be deposited to our bank account, or wired through Western Union.

It started to get interesting after "Jim" responded:

Bubbles Tours

to Jill

Thanks for the quote. It is a pleasure doing business with you. Your
offer is affordable and it meets the budget plan of my clients. Now, my clients are ready to make the total payment of the stay for the
mentioned period Plus our Company's Commission of 950€. I have informed the client about it and so we will like you to recalculate the cost by including my agreed commission of  950€ and i will be
sending the client's credit card details, authorization to charge and all other necessary document to make the charge.

Kindly give me the total computation for the payment:


Commission:  950€
Compensation for your effort:  200€

The clients are aware of this commission charges to their credit card.
  Note that as soon as you get the full payment from their credit card, you will send my company's commission via Western Union money transfer or send it to my company account before client's arrival at your
hotel. Let me know if you can do this for us.

Thanks for working with us.

Best regards

By then, all sorts of alarm bells were ringing in my head. An agency is collecting a Php60,000 (950 euros) commission for a Php27,000 tariff? And on top of that, the agency is paying the resort an additional Php13,400 (200 euros) for accommodating their guests?!


So I declined and did not act on Jim's offer.

I actually tried to locate the people named in the first email, since it was clear to me that they were the victims of identity theft and I wanted to warn them. But apparently, those are very common names and my search yielded dozens of hits. My hope is that they come across this post and will be able to act accordingly, canceling their credit cards or using this post in their dispute letter (like what I did when I also fell victim to identity theft)

Jim never did respond after I declined, but wouldn't you know it, I received the same reservation email again yesterday! Scammers never give up don't they? And apparently they don't keep their lists updated.

Be safe people!


  1. I got the same email today.
    Got the same exact email. Same name same info...

  2. Yes, me too...
    I got same email today, same exact email, same name and same info today...

  3. I did received the same request from my junk box.
    Yes, I sometimes received the same request from when we clicked to reply it became the different e-mail: jimmp077@g.... It's for sure a scammer

  4. I got the same mail several under different email address.
    It is simply a stupid scam.

    all the time they asking to make a reservation for at least 3 room minimum for a period of stay of around 10 days.
    Mostly they can ask also:
    their client bought flight ticket trough a travel agent that doesn't have a credit card machine to get the payment.
    so they ask us to send by western union the amount of the flight ticket and give us 300$ for helping them.

    That's totally scam as well.
    All real travel agency have a IATA number and have CC machine as well.

    there are a lot of email and just today I receive 3 email from the same person

    1)Dear Sir/Madam,

    Please can you confirm if you have available rooms for our guests who will be arriving at the below dates.

    The guests are scheduled to arrive as follows; Arrival Date: 1st December 2014 Departure Date:10th December 2014 Number of rooms:3 double rooms
    Type: Double Rooms

    However , I want you to confirm the following:
    (1)Do you have Mail order Credit Card Machine (2)We are going to make a deposit of $2,000 (3)The complete payment will be made on arrival.

    I shall be waiting for your confirmation, and I shall forward the credit card details for you to make the requested charges and confirm the booking.
    We want you to confirm this arrangement and provide us with your:
    (1) YOUR FULL NAME (who will receive and charge the card)..
    (3) PHONE NUMBERS......... for easy contact (4)Type of credit card accepted

    (Should there be no available rooms in the above mentioned dates,Please kindly inform me of the availability for 10 days in the month of December

    Vincent Hangartner
    United State.

    2) the seconf one comes from Smith Frank:

    We need to book a prepaid reservation for rooms in your place for 10

    guests who will be arriving your location in December 2014 The guests

    are scheduled to arrive as follows;

    Arrival: 1th December 2014

    Departure: 20th December 2014

    Dates Required: 1th December --20th December (20 days) No.Of Guests:

    10 (ten) No.Of Rooms: 5 (five) double rooms or 10 (singles) single rooms

    If you can take guests for the duration, Kindly get back to me with

    the rates and total cost required for the duration.

    A timely response will be appreciated as I look forward to hearing

    from you soon.

    3) Bubble Tour

    Good day to you and please note that we will need accommodation for 3 guests that will be on a short visit to your country.

    Kindly inform us if there is availability for 3 rooms from November 23rd to 28th 2014 (6 nights).

    See below for their names:

    Mr Sean Sampson
    Mrs Sara Wright
    Mrs Jane Brighton

    Do revert back to us with the rates as well as the total cost for the duration of their stay.

    Waiting for your response.



    4) from Robin Peter
    Hello To The Manager of the Hotel ,

    I am Mr Robin Peter. I want to make a bookings in your hotel for my guest.See below for my guest details for you to book them.

    1.MR Hampton /SINGLE ROOM
    2.MR Billy /SINGLE ROOM
    3.MRS Angelicia /SINGLE ROOM

    CHECK IN : 10th of December 2014
    CHECK OUT : 16th of December 2014

    Get back to me with confirmation of availability of the 3 SINGLE rooms for the whole Nights and get back to me with the total cost of the booking ,then i can provide to you my credit card details for you to charge the payment not for guarantee. Hope to read from you. Robin.

    All the mail above are scam received in just couple of days.

    So take care of that dear partners.
    Best regards

  5. Hello Just received an enquiry from Mr. Hangartner - same phone number as yours, we are in New Zeaalnd so they are fishing wide. this is the second scam booking I have received today.

  6. I also got same email below:


    I am pleased to get your email and I am sure the guest will have a nice stay in your place.Kindly make the booking in my name Vincent Hangartner.

    The guests are all Chinese and are first going to the Netherlands for 4 days before coming to your city.I will send you the credit card details as soon as you confirm this mail, then you will charge the full amount of $6,000 and keep the deposit o of $2,000.

    Moreover, we were able to make an arrangement with a translator/guide who will interpret all the conversation for them first in the Netherlands and also during the period they're booked in your accommodation as they only speak and understand Chinese and also to take care of their logistics arrangement for their tours while lodging at your place.

    The translator/guide is yet to own a credit card merchant account therefore cannot process credit cards.Once you are in receipt of my credit card details,you are required to process the total amount of your $6,000 from my card,then deduct your $2,000 as your initial deposit and transfer the amount $4,000 to the translator whose information I will forward to you once this is confirmed.

    N.B: All checks and balances will be done with the group leader with you on the final day of their stay and.So confirm this and provide me with your details;
    1. YOUR FULL NAME------------------
    2. FULL ADDRESS -------------------
    3. CONTACT PHONE NUMBERS----------- for office records.

    You are also to deduct all transfer charges and VAT from the $4,000 you will send to the Translator and he will send you an invoice for the payment.

    I shall be waiting for your confirmation, and I shall forward the credit card details for you to make the requested charges and i will furnish with other details needed after the charge is completed

    Looking forward to a warm Hospitality!,

    All the best.

  7. I have just received close to the same letter above 3 double rooms for 6 people.
    Taupo NZ

  8. I have just received it and I am in Argentina, so it seems this scam goes a long way. Thanks for posting, it saved me a lot of trouble.

    Thanks again!!!!

  9. I received this email yesterday, in Brazil. Signed just Jim, no phone numbers or adresses. By the way, he doesn't write a very good english... Thanks google I found a lot of pages like yours...

  10. Received again today in Australia. Have received lots of times before - always a gmail address. I just ignore them now! Stay safe, People.

  11. We were also taken by Vincent Hangartner

  12. Received this email in South Africa from
    Please be careful!

  13. We are in Thailand and received the exact same email from bubblestour today! They are real scammer, be careful!

  14. Got the same email!!!
    Real scammer!!!

  15. Same e-mail received yesterday in Brazil. Now they are using this e-mail:

  16. I receive the same e-mail, they are using this e-mail adress: Bubble Tours [] - Cuiaba-MT - Brazil.

  17. I'm in indonesia and i already received email from bubbles tour and smith frank..the email are exactly the same..real scammers

  18. Got exactly the same email. Thanks for this alert.

  19. I'm in Brasil and got the same e-mail today also

  20. Thanks for posting, helps me a lot... Just got the exact same email yesterday

  21. Now in Costa Rica,, how we can report this idiot?

  22. On 2.01.2016, I received the same e-mail, different guest names, from Jim at Bubbles Tours. I replied, thinking that it was a genuine inquiry. Then I received a very similar inquiry from Portman Tours - different guest names, different dates - this morning and that alerted me immediately to the scam. Thank you for this posting.
    Lao PDR