England

Fears Summer Safari Waterpark UK tour 'could be a scam'

Summer Safari Waterpark Facebook page Image copyright Facebook
Image caption A number of councils have said they have not received an application to host such an event

Thousands of thrill-seekers have signed up via Facebook to an event called Summer Safari Waterpark UK.

But it is feared the event, advertised as being set to appear in up to 30 cities across England, "may be a scam" and the public is being warned not to give out personal information. So what is going on?

Water rides and slides, rapids, flumes, mini-beaches, bumper boats "and more" are promised, with each page stating: "We will be secluding off an area to host our outdoor Water Park in your city, so lets Get Wet n Crazy!! This Summer 2016!!"

But a number of councils where the events have been advertised say they have not received applications to host such an activity.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The page says the venues will be disclosed once licensing permission is granted

Liverpool City Council said: "We have not received an application for a licence for this event. We would advise people not to provide personal details and certainly not send any money for an event which currently has no tangible location or dates."

Manchester City Council said it too had not been contacted by any company about holding such an event.

'Juvenile behaviour'

Councillor Pat Karney told the Manchester Evening News: "The council have received nothing from this group claiming to be bringing a water park to Manchester. They would certainly need a licence for this.

"It could be legitimate but it also could be a scam. If it's just messing people around they need to stop with this juvenile behaviour."

The description on the event page reads: "Once we have licensing permission from the councils in every city, locations and exact dates will be disclosed."

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The event has been advertised to take place in 30 cities across the UK

It comes after similar concerns were raised about a promotion for a non-existent tour based on the BBC's popular Total Wipeout series proved to be fake. Facebook later disabled the page.

The Summer Safari Waterpark UK page does not ask for financial information from attendees.

But in the case of Total Wipeout, the Information Commissioner's Office said the incentive could be something called data mining - gathering information to sell on to marketing companies.

Pictures used on the Summer Safari Waterpark UK Facebook page are present elsewhere on the internet. The same waterpark is advertised on a Visit Beijing website, as well as reports of another adventure park in the USA.

Organisers of this new water-based event have not provided contact details on the Facebook pages and there is no phone number, company name or address that could help identify the people behind the events.

Image copyright Visit Bejing
Image caption Pictures used on the Summer Safari Waterpark UK Facebook page are present elsewhere on the internet

Some fans have raised their concerns on the page itself.

Malcolm Watson said: "This shows just how easily people can be duped. A series of events that have appeared on Facebook named 'Summer Safari WaterPark 2016' bear a striking resemblance to a previous string of fake events that were designed to lure people to 'spam' marketing websites.

"Other cities with waterpark Facebook pages include Cambridge, Norwich, Bath, Durham and Nottingham Aberdeen, etc, etc. The photo used to illustrate the events is from Wild Island Adventure Park in Nevada, USA. It's another con on FB."

Marc Ltfc Macey commented: "Is this another scam with different dates on it?"

Tony Neate, chief executive officer at Get Safe Online, said: "It hasn't been confirmed yet whether this is a scam. However, there are warning signs that indicate when a Facebook event could be a scam - like if they don't provide any contact details, a specific company name, or there isn't a web page to visit to find out more information.

"It's always best to hold off until an event has been confirmed legitimate before engaging with it, and you should never share personal details with any company or person you don't know."

So far the BBC has been unable to contact Safari Waterpark Tour UK for a comment.

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