Scammer Brought to Justice

Photo source: Cafe Owner's Forum, Facebook

Kiwi hospitality businesses active on social media may be aware of a con artist who has been making the rounds of local hospitality businesses, scamming them out of hundreds of dollars.

The story was first brought to Restaurant & Café’s attention through The Café Owner’s Forum on Facebook. After the initial story was posted regarding a woman who had conned an establishment by saying the manager said she could receive a refund, other stories emerged.

Starting in the Richmond and Nelson areas, it would appear the same woman travelled up and down the country using the same con, reaching as far as Taupo in the North Island. She would reportedly scope out an establishment, seeking staff names and researching menu items before returning to the same establishment with a convincing story about a refund owed for unsatisfactory food.

After a year that has been incredibly unfair on the hospitality industry, a scam like this is salt in the wounds for owners and operators struggling to survive. The local hospitality spirit, however, remained strong as businesses warned others and the story quickly spread.

The good news is that Police have identified the woman and she has been charged with seven similar offences around the country, with three more active reports that the Police are still investigating.

If you have any information that can assist the police in their investigation, contact the non-emergency number at your local Police station.

This is another story that highlights the importance of a connected and supportive Kiwi hospitality community.