‘Groovin the Moo’ Music Festival Inspires Tricky Accommodation Scam

Groovin' The Moo in action...

Groovin’ The Moo in action…

According to visitors attending the ‘Groovin the Moo’ music festival, several homes were falsely advertised as rental accommodation. Without the owners’ knowledge or permission, operators sought to defraud guests and cash in on the popular holiday destination.

Local residents whose homes had been swept up in the scam were eager to clarify the situation. Kerry Gelmi, whose family home was advertised online, discussed the strange situation with the ABC.

“We were just so shocked,” Ms. Gelmi said. “We had no idea up until that point that our house had been advertised.”

According to the police, groups from Perth paid hundreds of dollars for what they thought was accommodation close to the festival. After effecting a wire transfer, those stung by the scheme found that the recipients were reticent to respond to email and other forms of contact. Once the police were contacted, it appeared as though the advertisements disappeared entirely.

“It’s just such as invasion, we had no idea that people could do that – and so successfully,” Ms. Gelmi continued. “We got out air mattresses and swags and all that kind of thing, we just didn’t know what to do. They would have been angry and it’s not like there was anywhere else for them to stay, Bunbury was booked out.”

Local police have insinuated that the trans-national nature of the scam made enforcement all them ore difficult. “The problem is once it’s only via email, it could be coming from the middle of Nigeria,” Bunbury Sergeant Laurie Seton noted. “The only lead we have in this case is the bank account details.”

For those who’ve been caught up in the fraudulent scheme, police have recommended seeking recourse through banks and financial institutions. But in terms of stopping the trade in false-accommodation, there’s very little that can be done. Consumer protection groups have urged caution on the part of digital purchasers, advising a careful and deliberate purchasing process.

WA Consumer Protection south-west coordinator Debbie Butler gave her best advice to the state’s weary consumers: “It used to be ticket scalping and now it’s accommodation scalping. Try and verify they are who they say they are, and that the property actually exists and that it’s available,” she explained.

So remember to keep this in mind when planning your next festival adventure.

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This entry was posted in Arts, Brisbane, QLD Travel, Travel News Australia, Travel Tips, What's On and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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