A FRAUDULENT restaurant reviewer has been caught trying to bag free meals in the Capital – just months after he scammed a Michelin-starred restaurant and attempted to clinch a private jet trip.
“Dan Reynolds”, who claimed to be deputy managing editor of “DR Media Group”, approached The Stockbridge Restaurant at the end of last month looking for a complimentary meal and drinks.
In return, he said he would include the restaurant in a special feature about Edinburgh for Shanghai Travellers’ Club (STC) – a luxury travel magazine aimed at the Chinese market.
But the publication told the Evening News he had nothing to do with them, and revealed someone using the same name had recently attempted two similar scams elsewhere in the UK.
The fraudster made a failed bid to secure a private jet trip seven months ago, and later managed to successfully bag a free meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant in London.
New York-based Pierre Gervois, publisher and editor-in-chief of STC, said: “I confirm this is a case of fraud and impersonation.
“It’s not the first time we heard that a company called ‘DR Media Group’ and an individual called ‘Dan’ or ‘Don’ has tried to pose as an executive of our company and request private jet trips or lunch at restaurants allegedly to review them.”
He added: “I did some research and the name of the company [DR Media Group] does not exist.”
Jessica Sneddon, who works for communications firm Charlotte & Joseph, handles PR for The Stockbridge Restaurant.
She uncovered the scam after growing suspicious that she could find no trace of “Dan” online, despite the fraudster sending her a sophisticated mock-up of STC’s media pack.
She said: “In the first instance he looked quite genuine and there was a media pack attached so we contacted him for a bit more information.
“But after we followed up with him and heard nothing back I looked up his company DR Media Group to see if there was a phone number on his website.
“However, a quick Google search took me to a completely different site saying DR Media had moved.
“I then looked up a copy of the [STC] magazine, which was available online, and there was no connection to DR Media and his name was not on the list of editors or contributors.
“By this time I had definitely smelled a rat.”
She warned other restaurants to be on the lookout, adding: “He’s pulling the wool over a lot of people’s eyes.”
Mr Reynolds did not respond to attempts to contact him, and no trace of his company could be found online.
A website for “DR Media Group” redirected to Bee Interactive Ltd – a web design firm. They said no-one called Dan Reynolds had ever been employed there.