Look out for “Greek priests” and other online dangers
by David Weston
Chief Executive of the
Bed & Breakfast Association
The vast majority – almost all, in fact – of people are fair and decent. If we couldn’t trust anyone, we wouldn’t be able to open up our homes to our B&B guests – strangers, after all.
Having said that, though, a small number have ill intent – and can do our businesses damage. They are determined to do so – and with a few simple precautionary principles, we can mostly prevent them from succeeding.
I’m talking about scammers and fraudsters: petty crime has moved online these days, and now the people who might once have stolen your TV or VCR (remember those?) find it much easier to defraud you by email – or book in and leave without paying, and with some of your possessions.
If you are a member of the Bed & Breakfast Association, you’ll know that we regularly warn members of current scams, frauds and dangers.
In fact, our warnings have so far helped the Police place three fugitives under arrest: Messrs Goodin, Millman and Gontier (pictured) are now in custody, thanks to our vigilant members. Mr Goodin was arrested last October and charged with over 30 offences. Mr Millman was arrested at a B&B in Blackpool in November, and soon after that, Essex Police contacted us about Mr Gontier:
“I just wanted to update you regarding wanted male, Mr Gontier De Bourbon Solari: he has now been arrested.
“I received a call on Friday 13th from someone in North Yorkshire who had seen the alert on the B&B Association website.
“I just want to thank you for your assistance. Without the alert on your website, Mr Gontier would not be in custody now. Thank you very much.”
We are also pleased to be playing our part in warning members about current email scams – from the “Greek priests” scam to the “Bogus bailiff” con – and about fake business directories, bouncing Eurocheques and many other nasty practices which could (and have) cost B&B owners dear.
It’s all part of “supporting” our members – and we are also here to “inform” and to “represent” you. We can help guide you through the maze of rules and regulations, and we fight your corner with regulators and with Governments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Brussels.
Don’t go it alone – join your trade association and benefit from the strength in numbers, the information resources – and the warning network we provide. That’s why veteran B&B guidebook publisher Alastair Sawday says:
“I can think of no better support system than that provided by the Bed & Breakfast Association.”
The Bed & Breakfast Association is the UK trade association for B&B and guest house owners, and exists to inform, support & represent owners. Membership costs £60 a year.