|Action Fraud warning as holiday bookings surge after lockdown exit plans announced
The national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime and ABTA, The Travel Association, are reminding the public to think twice before handing over their money and personal information when booking holidays this year. In previous years, criminals have targeted unsuspecting holidaymakers booking airline tickets, holiday accommodation and religious pilgrimages.
What is holiday fraud?
Holiday fraud can vary from fake accommodation listings advertising hotels, and self-catering properties that simply don’t exist, to “too good to be true” offers with flights being particularly targeted. Criminals can approach you over the phone, via text, email and social media, offering incredibly cheap deals to tempt you into booking a holiday with them. In reality, the holiday you’ve booked, or parts of it, doesn’t exist at all.
Tops tip to avoid falling victim to holiday fraud:
- Stay safe online: check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org.
- Do your research: don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible. If a company is defrauding people, there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences, and warnings about the company.
- Look for the logo: check whether the company is an ABTA Member. Look for the ABTA logo on the company’s website. If you have any doubts, you can verify membership of ABTA online on their If you’re booking a flight and want more information about ATOL protection, or would like to check whether a company is an ATOL holder, visit the CAA website.
- Pay safe: wherever possible, pay by credit card and be wary about paying directly into a private individual’s bank account.
- Check the paperwork: you should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all. When booking through a Holiday Club or Timeshare, get the contract thoroughly vetted by a solicitor before signing up.
- Use your instincts: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Get free expert advice: for further advice on how to stay safe when booking or researching travel online, go to Get Safe Online.
For a full list of tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, please visit https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/planning-andbooking-a-holiday/how-avoid-travel-related-fraud. If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.