a reservation about this reservation

Posted today by Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle

A restaurant reservation scam

Credit card scams know no geographic boundaries.

For the past six months or so, I have periodically gotten emails from someone wanting to host several special events at my restaurant. At first I emailed back and told them I wrote restaurant reviews and didn’t own a restaurant. After getting several more, I quit responding, but I was always curious as to what it was up.

Part of the answer came last week from an East Bay restaurateur who emailed me about a recent scam. During a two-month period the restaurant owner received two emails from someone in Scotland trying to book reservations for a large party for three consecutive nights.

The owner offered to provide more information if I wanted it, and of course I did. Here was the response.

“A Scottish offshore engineering company wants to book three consecutive nights for a party of 15. Great — things progress normally — deciding on how many courses, pricing, etc. I wasn’t expecting them to pre-pay but then they said they wanted to give us a deposit of $2,000 to hold the reservation with the balance to be paid by the group leader the night of. All fine.

“But then, they wanted to send us a bunch of money that we would have to then pay to the transportation/limo company because the transportation company’s credit card machine was down and they were oh-so-sorry that they couldn’t wire the money directly to the limo company, but they were on an offshore oil rig and could not complete the wire transaction.

“I’m sure it involves stolen credit cards and money that goes back to their ‘limo company.’ It becomes fishy pretty quickly but I have to admit I got excited about 3 early week, pre-paid parties of 15.”

I’m sure there are other schemes floating around; if you know of any, let me know.

Posted By: Michael Bauer (Email) | December 02 2008 at 05:02 AM

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