The image of Nigerians as people you could trust took a battering a few years back over advance fee “419” fraud, a scam that invited victims to help illegally launder a large sum of money “locked” in Nigeria for rewards in millions of pounds sterling. Drawn in by their own greed victims paid out thousands in advance fees to “smooth the deal through”, only to find there was no deal.
Sadly this old scam is ongoing, and not just from Nigeria these days, but the damage to a specific country and its people has been done.
Now damage is being done to the reputation of Britain in Europe due to the high number of fraudulent claims for compensation for food poisoning filed by Brits on holiday. These have been generated by cowboy claims management firms touting at resorts and encouraging British tourists to lie about being ill to claim several thousand pounds in compensation from the hotels, with a percentage of the claim going to the claims management firm, and their lawyers. British tourists on all-inclusive packages are especially targeted as they can claim they only ate in the hotel, and are being told that the only “evidence” they may need to submit is a pharmacist’s receipt for a diarrhoea remedy.
The fraud has reportedly cost hotels, particularly in Spain, millions of pounds and generated calls to raise prices for everyone to cover losses and/or ban all British tourists from all-inclusive holidays, which seems like unfairly punishing the honest many for the illegal actions of a relative few. More positively there have been signs that the guilty British tourists are to face legal action against them which could result in custodial sentences. And one law firm has now dropped 1,800 claims against travel company Tui, which owns Thompson, according to the Daily Mail, which has campaigned against the frauds and carried out undercover investigation of some who encourage them.
Naming and shaming all the bent claims management companies and the lawyers who fund them would be another positive step towards stopping the rot and restoring our damaged reputation.