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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Hotels warned about e-mail scam
Police have warned hoteliers and holiday agents in Dorset to be wary of a 'money-grabbing' e-mail scam.

An e-mail has been sent to hotels requesting a two-week booking for a business customer and saying that a cheque will be sent by their company.

But the cheque is too large and hotels are asked to refund the difference.

Act Sgt Nancy Playle, of Christchurch police, said: "We are eager to inform hoteliers and holiday letting agents about this money-grabbing scam."

The bogus e-mail seems to originate from Italy and has come from a number of different names, police said.

It requests that the difference between the amount of the cheque and the actual cost of the booking is paid into an off-shore account by electronic transfer.

So far the e-mail has appeared at hotels in Christchurch, although police said no-one has fallen for the scam yet.

Act Sgt Playle added: "This is a scam that relies on the good nature of people to refund the difference before the cheque has been cleared by their bank, ending in the hotel losing money on a fictional booking."

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