Holidays can be the best time of the year, when you can really get away from it all with families, friends or even just by yourself. That makes it even more devastating when you find out that the flights and hotels you booked online were in fact a scam, turning your dream get away into more of a nightmare. To help consumers avoid becoming a victim of holiday fraud, Get Safe Online has published new advice for consumers when purchasing a holiday
With summer just around the corner, more and more of us are searching for and buying last minute holidays. Unfortunately, some holiday makers pay for a holiday, only to discover their dreams have been shattered by fraudsters. The costs to victims are not just financial. They also have to deal with the severe disappointment of holidays or trips to visit loved ones being cancelled at short notice.
Top tips to avoid becoming a travel fraud victim
To help you ensure your dream holiday doesn’t become a nightmare, Get Safe Online, the City of London Police and ABTA have produced the following advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of holiday booking fraud. This advice includes the top tips below: * 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 check the company’s credentials. 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 a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. If you have any doubts, you can verify membership of ABTA online, at www.abta.com.
Pay safe: Never pay directly into an owner's bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money is very difficult to trace and is not refundable. Wherever possible, pay by credit card (or a debit card that offers protection).
Check 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.
You can find further advice on how to stay safe when booking travel online on the Get Safe Online website.
If you feel you have been a victim of these frauds, or any other, you should report it to Action Fraud or call them on 0300 123 2040.