There is a rising threat of holiday scams.
Clever criminals caught out thousands of holidaymakers last year, the criminals managed to sell holidays to them that did not exist.
Action fraud revealed that on average travellers lost £1,380, overall £7 million was taken.
Mark Tanzer chief executive of the Travel trade organisation Abta said This crime causes very emotional distress and is not just financial. Increasingly sophisticated methods are used by fraudsters and they target destinations at the times of the year when demand is high, and the availability limited. Because they are aware that people will be looking for good deals.
Victims of the scam often find out just before they travel, or even when they get to the resort that they have been defrauded. Then it is very difficult to find a legitimate replacement booking. Which makes the financial costs and emotional distress even worse.
Scams that they are using.
One in four cases involves payment for accommodation, with upmarket villas that are offered without the owner’s knowledge or are fictitious. With France and Spain being the most common countries affected by this issue.
There was more than half 53% of the scams related to airline tickets. With those visiting family and friends in Africa and the Indian subcontinent particularly targeted.
Stay safe from the scammers.
It is very easy to be caught out by the scammers.
Some victims in their 20s and 30s who work in the media still got caught out by well-executed villa scams.
To try and keep you safe, Which has the following advice.
- If the price for your flight or holiday is considerably cheaper than the average cost elsewhere, you should be suspicious. Charging significantly less is often a sign that there may be a scammer behind the offer.
- Looking out for official logos is a good way to check the authenticity of holiday booking, travel agent and tour operators.
- Popular holiday booking websites such as Airbnb and Holiday Lettings are a great place to find accommodation at a reasonable price, but watch out for fake listings – scammers have figured out that they can use the popularity of these sites to dupe people and make some quick cash.
- If a bank transfer is your only option for payment, this should set alarm bells ringing. You should be especially cautious if you’re asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer means your money will be very difficult to trace should something go wrong and is not refundable.
- Do a thorough search to check the company’s credentials. If a company is defrauding people, there’s a good chance you will find out pretty quickly by reading several reviews.
- Getting something for free is incredibly rare and so if you’re being offered a free holiday, you should be on your guard. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be careful of secondary ticketing sites. Scammers know which events are popular and which have limited tickets, so will try and take advantage of people willing to pay high prices
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