“Italian tourists” scam B&B in Swakopmund

The owner of a Bed and Breakfast establishment in Swakopmund is warning similar tourism businesses of a “new” type of scam, after she lost N$3 000 to “Italian tourists” who were supposed to stay five nights at her establishment. The victim wishes to remain anonymous.

The victim reported the incident to namib times in an attempt to warn other tourism establishments at the coast. “It is tourism season and many visitors are about. These people (fraudsters) continuously come up with new ideas to steal from unsuspecting people,” she said.
According to her she received a telephone call last week from an alleged tour guide, informing her that he was traveling the country with six Italian tourists. “He phoned me from Uis, saying he has another tour booked and that he has to leave for Okahandja. He told me that the tourists wish to stay in Swakopmund, but they can’t fuel up in Uis as they only have foreign currency (Euros) on them,” she said.
The tourists were allegedly driving two rented 4×4 double cab bakkies that had been fitted with extra fuel tanks. “The tour guide asked me to look after his guests. They booked five nights at my B&B and provided information via SMS,” she explained. Adding: “You believe these things and don’t suspect anything is off. After all, tourism is our livelihood and you want to assist were you can.” She even spoke to one of the tourists who indeed had an Italian accent. “I believe they used a stolen passport’s information,” she said.
The victim was instructed to e-wallet an amount of N$3 000 to a certain number, so the “tourists” could fuel up and drive to Swakopmund and then pay her back – but she never heard of them again.
The cell phone number (081 876 6437) has since been discontinued. “For these people (scammers) it is so easy to get a cell phone number and steal money from unsuspecting people,” she continued. After reporting the incident to namib times she expressed intentions to make a case at the police. “I will never again take any booking via SMS,” she concluded.

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