Scammers claim the Lord Nelson boat on Wensum is office as they rip-off travellers
PUBLISHED: 13:11 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:27 10 January 2018
Archant © 2014
Fraudsters selling fake flight reservations conned holidaymakers online by claiming they were a genuine travel company with a Norwich office.
But when trading standards checked out the company’s address listed on their websites it turned out to be the TS Lord Nelson boat - home of the Sea Cadets.
Norfolk Trading Standards said scammers set up two websites called Luxflights and Luxtravels to con people booking flights and accommodation online.
Customers booked with them but never received any flight tickets or hotel reservations.
One man booked two return flights to the Middle East on the site costing £740, but never heard anything back.
Brian Chatten, from trading standards, said the websites were selling tickets cheaply on flights which were otherwise booked up.
“It was a classic scam,” Mr Chatten said. “You choose something someone really wants.
“Whoever did this gave it some thought because our advice to people is to check there is a UK address on the site.”
The name was also similar to a genuine travel company.
But when trading standards checked out the postcode on the site, they found it was Foundry Bridge on the Riverside, the same address as the TS Lord Nelson, known as the “big grey boat”.
Trading standards got the sites taken down in November 2017 by contacting the sites’ Internet service providers (ISPs) in the United States.
But they were unable to get any customers’ money back.
Mr Chatten advised people to book holidays online with credit cards which protected them from scammers as they could get a refund if it turned out they had been conned.
He also advised travellers to make sure the websites they were booking through were registered with ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) or ATOL.
“If booking with a site you have not used before you need to be very careful,” Mr Chatten said. “Use your natural instinct.”
■ To report something to Trading Standards contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards