Look out for holiday booking fraud

5th June, 2019

Over 5,000 people were the victims of holiday booking fraud in 2018, with their total losses amounting to £7m, according to recent research.

The Association of British Travel Agents and Action Fraud have released a report which highlights the importance of thorough research, with figures showing an increase in reported incidents of holiday and travel-related fraud.

With rapid advancements in technology and the widespread adoption of online booking systems, we live in an increasingly connected world. From ordering the weekly shop to booking that much needed holiday, the internet brings a wealth of convenience and flexibility that can work alongside hectic schedules.

Sadly, fraudsters can take advantage of these processes. With sophisticated scams such as trusted websites being cloned, it’s not surprising that so many people have fallen victim to holiday fraud.

In fact, 53% of the crimes related to the sale of airline tickets, and one in four involved accommodation, such as luxury villas being advertised without the owner’s knowledge or the accommodation being entirely fictitious.

While these figures are concerning, there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of becoming victim to holiday booking fraud.

Our top tips for staying safe online:

Pay close attention to subtle domain changes: cloned websites will often display slight changes, for example changing from .co.uk to .org - this can indicate that the website is not authentic and your booking may not be legitimate.

Be wary of paying into an individual’s bank account: this can be a significant red flag to suggest that a booking is fraudulent. Where possible, pay by credit card to increase the likelihood of recovering your funds.

Seek alternative reviews: using a search engine such as Google is a sensible step to verify a company’s reviews; if they are known fraudsters, there will likely be reviews available outside of their website that will highlight other customers’ negative experiences.

If it looks to good to be true, it probably is: fraudulent flights and accommodation will often be listed at attractively low prices - it is important to exercise caution and not proceed with any financial transactions until you have verified the deal and the associated company.

If you would like further advice on how to ensure that your online holiday booking is legitimate, Get Safe Online offers free expert advice that can give you peace of mind - please click here to access this information.

Source: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/action-fraud-report-reveals-7-million-lost-to-holiday-fraud

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