Warning to brides after woman conned out of thousands in catering scam

The public are advised to beware when ordering goods and services online following a the story of  how a bride-to-be was conned out of more than £4,000 in an email scam.

Monday, 25th July 2016, 11:43 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:12 pm
Warning to brides after woman conned out of thousands in catering scam
Warning to brides after woman conned out of thousands in catering scam

Danielle Kemal, 31, shelled out £4,290 having received payment details from what she believed was her caterers, Souffle To You.

But the firm, based in Bearsted, Kent, contacted her three days before her wedding to say the payment still had not been received.

Danielle, of Blue Bell Hill, Kent, was devastated to have fallen for the bogus email but the firm kindly said she could pay just cost-price in an act of goodwill.

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The mum-of-two said: "I was devastated - running around crying my eyes out.

"The police said all we can do is report it to Action Fraud. They said, 'Just try to enjoy the wedding'. I said, 'A wedding with no food? I've got 120 people for a meal with no food, and more people in the evening'."

Danielle happily married Kai on July 3 and the reception was held at The Orangery, in Maidstone, Kent.

Souffle To You owner Karen Evenden, who founded the firm 15 years ago, said security checks had been carried out and the fraudulent email did not come from them.

She said: "Two weeks prior to her wedding we asked for payment and an invoice was sent with our bank details on. Then we didn't hear anything from her.

"Eventually she got back to me and she said, 'I have paid'. I asked her where she paid it and she went into hysterics.

"She was absolutely inconsolable. We have all been scammed here.

"We would never see anyone go without for their wedding and we catered for them on the agreement they paid the costs. We made no profit whatsoever."

Karen had the firm's computer security checked and, as far as they can tell, the breach was not from their end.

She said: "I have had all our systems checked and they can't see anything wrong. There is nothing to say it [the email] came from us."

Danielle received what she believed to be the correct account details on an email and went to a branch of Lloyds Bank to pay the money into the account in cash.

Danielle said: "Lloyds won't tell me if it's investigating.

"They just said the money has gone - they said fraudsters ship it to offshore accounts, then it disappears."

Action Fraud is yet to respond to a request for comment.