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I have received a most interesting inquiry from what looks like a legit travel agancy in Bali. I want to establish the "scam-factor" of this exchange, and am not sure how to do it. The websites given seem to be valid. Any suggestions? Is it possible to check an IATA number? I would appreciate feedback, I'm stumped and can usually spot a scam pretty easily ... following is a portion of the last email: -Debi
Yes, we are running an authorized and the most trustworthy travel &
guide agent at Denpasar, Bali Island, ID. Before I do the reservation
arrangements. Please answer our questions below;
- Do you have space availability for that dates? If not, please notify
that our clients vacation dates availability are flexible.
- For most Internet simply reservation may our clients provide you their
credit cards for the method of payment?
- Do I get a commission as referral fees for this guests information
from you? If yes, we propose you a little higher 12,5% commission on the
total amount of their stay.
- Reason of visit is pleasure, tourism and do social activities.
- Can maid, cleaning and catering service be booked with you as
- If you could serve limousine airport-pick up service. Please let me
know the additional cost but it is fine when you could not serve
limousine airport-pick up service. Do you have a good advice for renting
- May I ask for references from your past renters I will forward to my
clients? This is just an optional request.
And our company always suggest our clients to pay 100% deposit in
advance (full payment) to any properties we are looking for, not just
30-50% payment in advance. So there's no need to balance the remainder
upon their arrival. We also explained them this would be
non-refundable funds when they'll make any cancellation for doing 100%
payment in advance.
I also have read an American traveling article and they gave me a good
advice like state below so I'm always informing this good advice to
all of our clients.
"Travel Tip: Be smart when you pay. Pay with credit cards when
possible. Cash, checks, PayPal and bank wire transfers are much more
difficult to recover. NEVER wire monies via Western Union, MoneyGram
or instant wire transfer services."
By the way, I always have bad phone connection when I tried to reach
you so I assumed electronic mail is best, fastest and cheap way to
make all communication around the world. In addition, we would like to
show you a travel itinerary provided by the airline, that our guest is
confirmed to travel on the dates requested.
So please recalculate the total payment with your best price include
tax, damage/security deposit & cleaning service also our 12,5%
commission will be. I hope you understand our integrity mission and
appreciate our intentions to do honorable and ethical business. Peace
be with you and your preciousness underlings.
PT. Sekar Acala Jagadhita
Ting South East Asian Network Tours & Travel Agency
Asia Transpacific Journeys
Jl. Bintang Buana 12
Bhaktiseraga Barat Singaraja
Bali - Indonesia
IATA - International Air Transport Association No. 021 5921.
ASITA - Association of Indonesia Tours & Travel Agencies No.
-Vacation Rentals Community Members
-Better Business Bureau Gold Star Award Members
-Travel Agency specializing in vacation rentals and villa
-Association of Vacation Home Rental Managers-Travel Agent (VRMA)
"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes
on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." -- Miriam Beard
See "New rental frauds with credit cards" on this board. It sounds just like what you have here. Be very careful!
Thank you for this tip! I somehow overlooked the discussion thread you pointed me to, and it is EXACT wording! As an ex-travel agent, I really got thrown by the Iata numbers and the websites listed. I clicked on them, and they are ligit, it is unusual, IMO, that scammers are going into such detail. Regardless, I REALLY appreciate your response to me, you have saved me a ton of work!
I got exactly the same inquiry from "Leah Sjumandjaya, Denpasar Bali- Indonesia"! I've told her that I can only give her commission after the client have checked in to my rental house. I have not heard from her after that.
I was uneasy because she wanted me to prepare a rental contract that states " full payment required in advance and there's no refund". The biggest red flag was when she wanted her commission as soon as I process the credid card.
....thanks for your info Debi.
This is the letter I just received
Debi, I received the same letter from Bali Travel Agency
I've noticed that the scam letters are changing again. They are targeted to VRBO listings and I can't tell the initial inquiry from others. However, when the confirmation of desire to purchase comes, all my instructions are ignored. I am REQUESTED to supply certain information for payment by money order. The first time or two I sent back an email that I would only accept credit cards through PayPal for foreign exchange and subsequently never heard from them again. Now I generally recognize the tone and don't go beyond the second email exchange. Be alert!
Thanks Debi. You too!
Sent from my iPhone
I just got a very similar message, basically the same, but a different name. They sent an initial message with just a few questions, once I replied I got the email above. I figured it was a scam, so decided to take the signature footer they used and add "SCAM" and sure enough found this link on Google.
I checked the website and looks like it is a legitimate business. I just don't think a scammer would go thru the trouble of setting up their own website? The only thing is, Indonesians don't normally book vacation rentals and they normally go with travel tours. So even if this travel agency is legitimate one I dont' think you'll get much business from them to justify the hassle of dealing thru a third party.
I did notice that, but the response email was not using that domain.
Personal thought, Its a scam if it has, "Do you have space availability for that dates? If not, please notify that our clients vacation dates availability are flexible." in the request and that was the first statement in your request. Just my thought.
I totally agree with your assessment process