Mum discovered family had been scammed for get-away break while on drive ready to leave


Emma Reynolds and her family had their bags packed ready for the trip to the cottage with a hot tub in Blackpool, Lancashire, when they discovered the heartbreaking truth

Emma Reynolds, her partner Dorota and son Kyle found out the horrible truth as they were about to set off

A mum has issued a warning after her family’s get-away dreams were shattered by a cruel online scammer – as they were in their car ready to leave.

Emma Reynolds, 37, was excited after seeing a cute cottage stay in Blackpool after stumbling across an advert for the venue with a hot tub stay on Facebook.

Quickly booking it up and putting down a £100 deposit, they had already planned what to do locally after securing the break last week.

But it was only when they were ready for the off that they discovered they had fallen victim to the crime, Lancs Live report.

She had hoped for a much-needed breaking with her partner Dorota and 10-year old son Kyle as well as her cousin and her partner.







The family were excited after spotting the £350 cottage getaway on Facebook
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Image:

Lances Live WS)

Booking last minute, Emma felt they had stumbled upon a great deal shared by a Facebook account that appeared to be run by the owner of a cottage in Lancashire.

Things looked promising – they also offered a caravan on Marton Mere, a lodge with a hot tub in Blackpool and a caravan in Presthaven, Wales.

The supposed owner, who is currently advertising holiday rents under the name of Amy Lucia, took a £100 deposit and gave Emma the choice of paying the full amount – an extra £250 – at the same time or ‘before or on’ the day of arrival.

Thankfully, the mum decided to pay the extra £250 after checking in.

The scam gave Emma, ​​from Walsall, the choice of making the payment either directly to their ‘business account’ or through a payment link powered by SumUp.







They had so many fun things planned in Blackpool – but they had been scammed
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Image:

Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

But the real owners of the cottage have spoken to LancsLive to confirm they do not operate under the name Amy Lucia, and do not advertise on Facebook – nor do they take payments in this way.

After paying her deposit, Emma had ‘regular contact’ with Amy Lucia and even asked for a mobile number she could contact should anything go wrong during her stay.

Emma said: “I also asked for a mobile number which I was given and when I called a female answered as I wanted to check she had given me the correct number just in case something was to go wrong at the cottage during our stay.

“I tried to send the messages again but the same thing happened. I then sent a WhatsApp message to the number but it didn’t send either which is when I tried calling the number which was off and went to voicemail.

“I searched for Amy on Facebook but couldn’t find her, so I asked my partner to see if she could find her and straight away there she was….so I messaged off her account and as soon as she knew it was me she blocked me again. That’s when we knew we had been scammed.”

Emma said her young son was sat in the back of their car with ‘a ball on his lap waiting to leave’.

She added: “I went outside and burst into tears because I knew he would be heart broken.”

Emma to go onto Booking.com and book a BnB elsewhere decided ‘just so he could go for the weekend’.

“It’s sad that a person could do this. It’s not even about the money it’s the principal.”

The same advertisement Emma had been seen on Facebook Marketplace. The advertisement for a ‘Cottage with hot tub’ is described as a ‘cottage available for holiday let’ with a ‘hot tub, pool and bar/bbq area’. It has a genuine line of address and is generally advertised to cost £425 a month.

But the real owners of the cottage, who did not wish to be named, confirmed that they are not the people behind the Facebook advertisement, or booking process.

In fact, they claim that they also have been blocked by the account, which is understood to regularly change its name, and have said they have people ‘turn up from all over the UK’ thinking they have booked a stay at their cottage, not knowing they have fallen victim to the scam.

The real owners of the cottage have attempted to inform the police but were directed to report it to Action Fraud.

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They claim because they had not lost money themselves, there is nothing that can be done to stop the false seller advertising their cottage.

The owners of the cottage have also confirmed that the photographs used on the advertisement are genuine photographs of their cottage, as well as the line of address. As well as this, they confirmed there is only one mode of booking when it comes for their cottage, and it is not through SumUp nor direct transfer.

The scammer started sharing advertisements in accommodation groups on Facebook and on Facebook Marketplace in October last year and is understood to have used the following names: Natasha Little, Jade Greaves, Casey, Crystal and Amy Lucia.

Emma added: “People like this need to be stopped. I hear she is now using Amy’s cottages as a new business name and is still taking booking for this cottage. So more people will fall victim to their scam.”

“I hope that people don’t fall victim to anymore of these types of scams.

“Always book through a trusted website or make sure this person is approved and is a proper business. It’s so easy to fall victim and it’s a shame because genuine business owners will suffer because people don’t trust them.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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