EXCLUSIVE By James Bryce
AN expat restauranteur has warned others to be vigilant after nearly losing 7,500 euros in a credit card scam.
Scott Wood, 29, who runs Aire in Puerto Banus, was alerted to the con only after being informed by his bank that the card details he was attempting to process were known to be fraudulent.
It came after he received a request from someone claiming to be a previous customer who wanted to hold his wedding reception at the venue.
Giving his name as ‘Martin George’, the customer claimed to work for oil giant BP in the Gulf of Mexico and would therefore need to make all arrangements by email.
After agreeing a downpayment and budget of 18,000 euros, Wood and his staff began organising details including the menu, decoration, music and transport.
The elaborate ruse – which even involved a bogus wedding guest list – came to a head when ‘George’ requested that the restaurant would take a payment of 7,500 euros and then transfer it into a separate account to cover the cost of flights.
Luckily though, the restaurant’s card facilities did not allow payments to be made using only the card number and, due to a bank holiday, he was forced to wait.
When he attempted to confirm the transfer with the bank the following day, he was told the card number had been used in a number of similar scams along the Costa del Sol.
Wood, originally from Huddersfield, told the Olive Press: “The idea of losing all that money doesn’t bear thinking about. I’m just so glad it wouldn’t let me make the payment.
“I have since discovered it happened to at least one other restaurant, with the only difference being the alias was ‘Martin Davies’.
“We have forwarded the details to the police.”