Beware Of Online Fraud When Booking Your Summer Holiday

Action Fraud, the British national fraud and cyber crime reporting service, has launched a holiday fraud campaign ahead of the summer months, urging holiday goers to play it safe online and do their research before booking their trip. 

Last year, 6,640 reports of holiday fraud were made to Action Fraud and data shows July and August saw highest number of reports made, at 804 and 781 respectively. 

Holiday makers lost a combined total of £ 12.3 million, meaning there was an average loss of £1,851 per victim. 

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said “As people think ahead to book their holidays, understandably everyone is increasingly on the lookout for the best deals. With the cost-of-living crisis squeezing our finances, it's easy to forget to stay vigilant against fraudsters offering cheaper deals and great prices that are too good to be true.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of the travel industry association ABTA commnented “Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target consumers, with a particular focus on destinations and times of year when demand is high and availability limited, as they know people will be looking for good deals... Victims will often only find out they have been defrauded just before they are due to travel, or even in a resort, when it can be very difficult to find a legitimate replacement leading to yet more cost and potential disappointment.

Anna Bowles, Head of Consumers and Enforcement at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which runs the ATOL financial protection scheme, said “Our research shows almost three in five of us are planning to go overseas this summer and expect to spend thousands of pounds on these trips. Before booking your trip abroad make sure you are doing everything you can to thwart fraudsters.

Holiday makers are encouraged to take precautions and do their research online to ensure holidays are booked safely, without a hitch.Top tips to help prevent falling victim to holiday fraud:

  • Do your research: before committing and booking your dream holiday, make sure that you do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible.
  • Pay safely: use a credit card when shopping online, if you have one. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases.
  • Look for the logo: make sure they're a licensed company and check that they are properly accredited. Look for an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser's Licence) or a membership of ABTA, The Travel Association.
  • Stay safe online: use three random words to create a strong password for your email that’s different to all your other passwords. If a 2-step verification option is available, always set it.
  • Beware of suspicious messages: be cautious of unexpected emails or messages offering unrealistic holiday deals. If you receive a suspicious email, report it by forwarding it to: report@phishing.gov.uk
  • Protect personal information: only fill in the mandatory details on a website when making a purchase. If possible, don't create an account for the online store when making your payment.
  • Be sceptical of unrealistic holiday deals. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Exercise caution and research before making purchases.

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and in the UK report it to Action Fraud online at: actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. 

Image: Vicko Mozara

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