Con artist scams his way to free holidays
Published 06/02/2010 | 05:00
A CON artist is bluffing his way into free accommodation in some of the most scenic parts of the country.
Holiday-home owners in Co Donegal were warned yesterday of the scam in which a booking is made by a man who asks for the key to be left out as he will be arriving late.
The smooth-talking caller, who speaks with "a cultured Dublin accent", invariably claims to be working as a reporter, photographer or customs officer.
Earlier this week, one property owner in Letterkenny received a call from a man claiming to work as a reporter.
He said he had been sent up from Dublin to cover a news story and needed the cottage for two weeks.
"He asked my mother to leave the key out because he would be arriving very late and told her that he would sort her out in the morning but he had done a runner," the owner's daughter said.
Brian Deeney, the administrator of donegalcottageholidays.com, said he had posted a warning on his website after receiving a number of reports about the scam.
"He is very plausible and according to some reports he drives a Mercedes car. He arrives late at night and people leave a key out for him.
"They never see him but there is evidence that he has stayed," he said.
In instances where the owners insisted on meeting him with the keys, he didn't turn up.
Yesterday a garda spokeswoman urged property owners to take a deposit before handing over property keys and to change locks afterwards.