Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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Updates for Accommodation Providers

Updates for accommodation providers including recent scams, fraud and cyber crime, window blinds, carbon monoxide and distraction theft.

Recent Scams

Drug Importation via Hotels - 7th June 2018

The PSNI have reported an increase in importation of controlled drugs, mainly though not exclusively herbal cannabis, via transient addresses, such as hotels, guest houses and B&B’s.

The controlled drugs are being delivered to hotel guests during their stay by couriers and are large parcels. Bookings are being made on line via the OTA’s, and the guest stay tends to be short 1-2 nights.
Upon arrival the guest often advises the property that they are expecting a parcel and will ask reception to sign for it.
Parcels generally large boxes (approx 6-10 kgs) and delivered by various well known and reputable courier companies – DHL; UPS etc

Please alert your staff to look out for the following:

  • Prepaid bookings on OTA’s with a different guest from the card holder. These will be short 1-2 night stays
  • Guest advising of large parcel deliveries and asking for them to be signed for
  • Guests waiting in reception for periods of time to collect parcels

If you have any suspicions about this issues or have concerns, please contact the PSNI Organised Crime Squad :

DC Wendy Warwick
C1 Organised Crime Unit
Tel: 101 Extn 26724
Mobile: 07799 867549

If you have concerns, it would be helpful if you could.

  • Retain any CCTV of the individuals, booking in/checking out
  • Record details of any suspicious packages – delivery company/delivery reference etc.
  • Record all hotel booking references – name, credit card details, mobile phone number if provided
  • Do not challenge any individuals or take any action that may place yourself or your staff in any danger

County Antrim Non-Payment

An accommodation provider in Co Antrim has advised us that they have recently been left out of pocket. A family comprising two adults, one child and a number of dogs had booked and paid to stay for one week, they are particularly interested in ‘pet friendly’ accommodation.  They then extended their stay by a number of weeks and paid at the end with an invalid cheque.

County Down Non-Payment

A number of accommodation providers in Co Down have also reported a fraudulent booking from a lady called ‘Lisa’. The guest makes a booking for one week because of emergency house repairs and pays in full. She then returns for a few more weeks but at this stage leaves without paying. She usually stays in contact promising payment.

One way to prevent these types of scams is to take full payment on arrival or use online booking (ie take full payment at time of booking).

Room Email Scam

Tourism NI recently received an email from looking for “ROOMS IN FEBRUARY 2016”. This email followed the typical format of scam emails ie it asked for 3 double rooms for 6 guests for 10 days and offered a deposit up front then asked for phone numbers and enquired which credit cards were acceptable. The email had a number of grammar and spelling errors.  This would appear to be a cashback money transfer fraud - see further details below.

Report Fraud and Cyber Crime


The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have recently joined forces with Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, as part of new arrangements to investigate fraud.

Action Fraud takes all fraud and cyber-crime reports in the UK and provides support to citizens through both the contact centre and its web-based channels.

There are many forms of cybercrime and new cases are being uncovered all the time. One example is phishing emails. These are bogus emails with links to fake websites to trick people into entering personal details or account information.

As Action Fraud takes crime reports on behalf of the police, reporting directly is likely to be quicker and more convenient for you than visiting your local police station.

Download details from Action Fraud. You can report suspected cases of fraud online at or by telephoning 0300 123 2040.

Private Water Supplies Bulletin

NIEA provide some useful advice if you have a private water supply. Find out more from the Department of the Environment. Contact or tel: 028 9056 9282.

New Standards for Internal Window Blinds

This documents details information on the new standards for internal window blinds from the British Blind and Shutter Association. Download information on new standards for internal window blinds.

CO Awareness

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colourless, odourless, toxic gas.  Landlords and tenants both have responsibilities to ensure the safety of their premises. When it comes to carbon monoxide safety and the law, it depends on what type of fuel you have.  Find out more from the Health and Safety Executive.

Claiming Back Business Water Rates

Did you know, if you pay business water rates you may be entitled to claim some money back. Click here for more details from the Consumer Council.

Other Scams

Cashback Money Transfer Fraud - Tourist Accommodation

A number of tourist accommodation providers have contacted Tourism NI regarding what appears to be booking scams.

The following information is designed to help make you aware of what form these scams may take, as they can often follow a similar pattern, and to encourage you to remain alert.

A booking enquiry is made (usually by email).  Examples of the queries include:

  • Reservations for priests coming for an event
  • 2 couples from Russia on honeymoon
  • An alleged employee claiming to be from UNESCO – visit to see further details.
  • A couple called Mr & Mrs Anderson searching for accommodation.
  • Monique W Raynal and her daughter asking for a reservation.
  • Francois Garnier from Paris - for more information visit
  • Mr & Mrs Lawson

The accommodation provider replies to the booking enquiry with details regarding availability and costs etc.  In most cases the booking is being arranged by a friend who will request further information from you such as address and phone numbers.  Even if you send notification that the booking is not suitable, you may still receive an email advising that the terms are acceptable.

The booking is then confirmed by the initial requestor and details of how the payment will be made (usually by credit card, travellers cheques or bankers draft).  The payment is usually for a greater amount than the actual cost with the accommodation provider being asked to cash the travellers cheques/bankers draft/accept the credit card payment and to send the balance to another person such as a booking agent, travel agent, translator, etc, whose details are provided.

If you proceed, you usually find that the original payment is not honoured by your own bank as the credit card/bankers draft/travellers cheques are fake.  Whilst a stolen cheque or bankers draft can be recalled by the bank, even after the funds have gone through the clearing cycle and are showing on your account, any money transferred by you cannot be recalled once sent.

This type of scam is common for all sectors, not just accommodation.  Scams continue to circulate using different emails, details and names but following the same format. 

For more information, you can simply type the words “cashback money transfer scam” into your internet search engine or visit

Distraction Theft

Tourism NI is aware of an incident where callers to a property attempted to distract the proprietor in order to potentially steal from the premises.

This occurred when two callers requested to view a room and, whilst upstairs with the proprietor, two further persons entered the property and tried to access a downstairs bedroom.                                           
Please be vigilant and take any necessary precautions when answering the door to callers.