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Fake holiday accommodation websites

You will not travel far with Escapes Mall or Wander BreaksEscapesMall

We have had five separate reports from consumers who lost money after receiving a call from a company offering cheap holiday accommodation (6 nights for $249 or $999 for 23 nights to be used at hotels in Australia). Consumers who make the purchase are referred to the escapesmall.com website and provided an ABN (Australian Business Number). Searches have confirmed the ABN provided is for a business that is not related to holiday accommodation or even the travel industry and is not involved with this scam.

These scammers then ask for payments to be by bank deposit only. After the payment occurs the consumer is then sent an email with the log in details for the website – all consumers reported they were given the same log in information.

Consumers reporting this scam have also all received the same membership card (with the same member number) and when they attempted to book their accommodation, listed hotels are advising they are not part of the offer and have not authorised Escapes Mall to undertake any promotion for them.

In a similar scam,  consumers receive vouchers and information in the mail relating to Wander Breaks (wanderbreaks.com). Wander breaksConsumer reported that when they attempt to book accommodation they are unsuccessful, and when they have followed up with individual hotels, the hotels have advised they are not aware of these promotions.

Protect yourself

  • Be alert to unsolicited offers. While some offers may be legitimate sometimes they are scams and can be very difficult to identify – it’s always best to check independently every time.
  • Verify the offer. Always check whether an offer is genuine, even those passed on from people you know. Contact the relevant retailer using contact details you get from a phone book or independent online search.
  • Avoid links and numbers that appear in an offer – these can direct you to fake websites. If you get an email or call supposedly from a well-known company, look up the details yourself to check they are correct.
  • Take your time. Many scams will claim the offer is limited to create a sense of urgency. Don’t be rushed into handing over your personal information.
  • Consider your privacy. Only provide information such as Medicare numbers and credit card security codes to organisations you can trust. Requests of this nature should ring alarm bells.
  • Report. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your financial institution immediately.

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