Capable boss issues warning over bogus CEO

Juliet Dennis

Travel anti-fraud group Profit has issued a warning to the trade after a conman was found to be posing as the chief executive of a UK travel agency.

Advantage Travel Partnership member Capable Travel received messages online from individuals in the Middle East and Afghanistan who believed they had met the company’s chief executive. They had been offered jobs and work visas in the UK and Canada for $200.

Capable Travel director Jorge Herrera

Jorge Herrera, managing director

of London-based Capable Travel, said: “I am worried about our reputation, but more importantly about the people this man is conning. He is extorting money from innocent people, obviously taking advantage of anyone who wants to come and live in the UK.” Herrera contacted the police

about two months ago when he was first alerted to a man going by the name of Mohammed Rizwan posing as the firm’s chief executive. Herrera has since continued to receive emails about the imposter. A spokeswoman for Action

Fraud said the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau at the City of London Police had looked at the case but found no leads that would result in a successful criminal investigation. Barry Gooch, chairman of the

Prevention of Fraud in Travel group, advised companies to set up Google Alerts to monitor how many times a company name is being used online, and to use the Public Register Search System, an online tool that searches the WHOIS database of website

owners. It allows you to create automated searches to monitor spoof websites. He also recommended businesses apply a digital signature to websites so they can catch criminals who clone sites and use them under other domains. Gooch said: “This type of

fraud is increasingly common across the travel industry and typically companies only become aware when they start receiving complaints from people they have never dealt with previously.”


5 Ministers to place LTAs outside Atol

Lee Hayhurst

The government will ignore industry demands for the CAA to regulate Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) as part of the Atol regime under new Package Travel Regulations to come into force in July.

LTAs will instead by regulated by

local authority Trading Standards’ officers, with the government deciding this new category of bookings created by the European

Package Travel Directive (PTD) to capture “click-through” sales between websites might otherwise compromise the Atol scheme. The Department for Business

(BEIS) has yet to publish the regulations to enshrine the directive in UK law. These will widen the definition of a package to include bookings now deemed Flight-Plus in the UK. Bookings defined as LTAs

will require financial protection against the risk of a company going bust, but they will not carry the liabilities of a package.

6 22 February 2018

“The draft Atol regulations and Atol Standard Terms should clarify the situation”

The Department for Transport

(DfT) and BEIS declined to comment. However, Travel Weekly understands confirmation is imminent. The DfT oversees the Atol regulations. Abta and the CAA have questioned whether many current UK bookings would fall within the

definition of an LTA. But there are concerns the LTA category could offer a means to avoid compliance with the new regulations. The DfT noted a “clear

preference [in the industry] for the inclusion of flight-related LTAs within the Atol scheme” when it consulted on potential changes to the Atol scheme in late 2016. Abta director of legal affairs

Simon Bunce said: “The government and CAA are still to publish the draft Atol regulations and Atol Standard Terms, which should clarify the situation.”

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