Holidaymakers in Brandenburg paid for houseboats that did not exist

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Thu 8th Jul, 2021

It is a new and perfidious scam, the victims come from all over Germany and wanted to take a vacation at the Mecklenburg Lake District and in the north of Brandenburg. It is about Internet fraud with rental houseboats, for which vacationers transfer deposits, for boats, which do not exist, however.

According to the police in Neubrandenburg and Neuruppin, they are now investigating at least ten criminal complaints with reference to the site, which is described as a fake. Also at an address at the city port in goods at the Müritz, which the presumed fraudsters had indicated as seat, damaged ones had announced themselves, who looked for their houseboat, it was said. The Internet side seems genuine, is however a Fake, said a spokeswoman.

The police had warned after first announcements on Monday already before houseboat fraudsters. The blockage of the Internet side had highest priority, said a police spokeswoman. However, this had not yet been able to take place because the Internet provider was not yet known.In this context, the officials pointed to two vacation home platforms linked to this houseboat internet site, which could also be a scam. At the weekend, a holidaymaker had arrived in Wittstock (Ostprignitz-Ruppin) in northern Brandenburg, for example, where the vacation home offered did not exist at all, they said.

On the houseboat side with copies of boat photos and wrong data over allegedly favorable tariffs around prospective customers one recruits, said the Neubrandenburger spokeswoman. After deposit of in each case about 600 euro however each contact breaks off to the side operators, as concerning reported. Even the service number listed in the imprint leads nowhere.

Consumer protection: Missing imprint is a warning signal

According to police, the fake Internet site features boats that can actually be rented in the Mecklenburg Lake District - but from other companies. In Rheinsberg, a boat owner and shipowner has filed a complaint, whose boats are offered for rent on the website, said a spokeswoman for the police in Neuruppin. The police in Neubrandenburg did not want to confirm a report by NDR on initial investigative leads, according to which the account numbers given on the fake site would lead to the Netherlands and Norway.

The Mecklenburg Lake District and the Havel region, which stretches from Rheinsberg to Waren, are considered popular houseboat destinations. Especially after the Corona restrictions, tourism providers are hoping for this summer and numerous customers. They can arm themselves with a few tricks against such fraudulent schemes with rental houseboats. Anja Offermann from the consumer center in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern told NDR: "We always point out to consumers that especially the missing imprint is a signal that you are on a dubious site." In the case of the current scam, however, precisely that did not help because the imprint contained false information. But anyone who checks whether the company is actually registered in the commercial register under the number given in the imprint quickly comes to the conclusion that it is a fake offer.Other indications of dubious offers could be conspicuous Internet addresses, the payment terms, an extremely low price, false seals of approval and too many positive customer reviews within a very short time.

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