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Charter scammers

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An interesting case happened to us last week. On Friday afternoon our yacht rental service received a request to urgently (within 2 hours) arrange a boat for 10 people for a visiting meeting of the Moscow traffic police. We found the boat, voiced the price and offered to leave immediately for advance payment at any convenient place. The client wanted to pay for everything when he boarded the boat - saying "we are about to leave". In addition he asked us to buy some bottles of cognac, wine, fruit and other snacks for the guests - promising to pay for everything on the spot as well. We asked them to fax us the receipt to confirm our order. The client promised to consult with the manager and call us back, but he never showed up. In the end it turned out to be a trivial scam.

As we got to know, Andrey (name changed), the captain of one of the most active yachts on the Moscow charter market has already run into such a scheme. Here is what he told us about his experience:

- A professional gang works. The acting is excellent. One person calls first, presents himself as "the assistant chief of Moscow traffic police", and asks to arrange a boat urgently, promises any money. The task is to confuse you and force you to be hotheaded.

I dropped everything, left the child with a nanny, caught the first available taxi and rushed to prepare the boat. When I was already in Azbuka Vkusa, I called me, supposedly already "himself" chief. He spoke very flamboyantly, immediately switched to the "you. Thanked me for my assistance. He promised to give me a business card with his signature: if you laminate it, all the traffic policemen will let you go. And all in the same vein. He said that he himself would not be present at the event, and that his assistants would deal with his guests. At the end of the conversation he complained that he couldn't get this assistant on the phone. And he asked... to put a couple of thousand rubles on the assistant's phone. It was then that it finally became clear to me that this was a scam.

Actually, of course, it's ridiculous. This whole operation, in which several million dollars worth of boats are involved, is all about two thousand rubles!

The story is really funny. But in order to avoid falling into this trap again and losing not just money, but rather time and nerves, we urge all our colleagues to be vigilant and not to work with unknown clients without advance payment. No matter how cool they may seem.

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