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Islander scammed by fake visitor email

An islander has warned that he has been the victim of a scam which cost him the price of a three-week booking.

Westward Farm in the snow

Aiden Hicks from Westward Farm on St Agnes was surprised when regular visitors emailed to cancel their spring booking, citing a sudden emergency.

After refunding their money, he was contacted by the real couple, who asked why he was re-advertising the weeks they had booked.

It later emerged that scammers had hacked his customers' email address, read their messages and contacted Aiden to cancel the booking and ask for a refund to their own bank account.

He told This is Scilly: “My customers are a lovely couple and I thought something bad must have happened to one of them for them to cancel as they always come to St Agnes for three weeks in the spring and two in the autumn.

"The fake email was sent as a reply from when I last emailed and because they'd looked back through previous messages they knew how much the couple had paid and that they were coming again in the autumn.”

Even when the customers changed their passwords, the scammers continued to have access and to email Westward Farm. They also set up an email account that was one letter different to Aiden's own in order to send correspondence the other way.

"The language they used sounded right and there was nothing to make me think it wasn't genuine," he said.

The bank has told Aiden that he is unlikely to get his money back.


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