Fraud case study: Homeworker ripped off to tune of £30,000

Fraud case study: Homeworker ripped off to tune of £30,000

February 2009 is Fraud Awareness Month on Travel WeeklyHomeworker Marguerite Caris Manzano lost £30,000 when she booked travel for a group of promoters and band members for a Puerto Rican salsa singer.

The group got in touch with Manzano through a contact of hers, and asked her to book travel for all the members of the group for the singer’s European tour.

They paid £15,000 cash up front, but refused to pay the remaining £30,000. “They had all disappeared,” said Manzano. “My husband and I even went to their homes but the addresses they had given me were all false. I had all their phone numbers but was never able to get hold of them again.”

Manzano, who runs Transatlantic Wings travel agency from her home in West Sussex, has also been the target of credit card fraud. In Christmas 2007, a South African couple booked flights worth £7,000 with her. They provided copies of utility bills to confirm their identities and their credit card was authorised. “By the end of the January we heard from American Express that the card was not valid and we had to pay back £7,000.

“We are a small business and we can’t afford to make these losses,” she said.



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