Fraudsters are clever: they’ll use any situation to help them steal your money or your personal details. Since many of us are on the lookout for a holiday bargain, now is the time to be extra vigilant.
You may be sent a phishing email advertising ‘too good to be true’ offers or prices for package holidays or flights. When you click the link, you’re directed to a fake website, designed to get all your personal and financial information. Criminals can expertly design websites that seem professional and convincing, using images of luxury accommodation that they don’t own - to convince you they’re trusted and genuine. They’ll offer you discounted prices and ask for a deposit that you’ll never get back.
You might also be directed away from secure payment channels to ‘avoid missing a booking’, and asked to pay via bank transfer or through fake payment pages, all designed to steal your money.
Make sure your booking is confirmed by a consumer protection scheme such as ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and/or ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s License). Don’t rely on seeing their logo - check membership on ABTA or ATOL’s website.
Criminals are also taking advantage of growing demand for ‘staycations’ in the UK this summer by advertising fake listings for caravans and motorhomes on auction sites. These vehicles are advertised at attractive prices to tempt people into believing they’re getting a good deal, when in reality they don’t exist or don’t arrive after you’ve paid out your money.
- Be suspicious of any ‘too good to be true’ offers or prices – if it’s at a rock-bottom price ask yourself why.
- Where possible, use a credit card when booking holidays over £100 and up to £30,000 as you’ll get protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
- Use the secure payment options recommended by online travel providers - never accept requests to pay separately via a bank transfer.
- Read online reviews from reputable sources to check websites and bookings are legitimate.
- Access the website you’re purchasing from by typing it into the web browser and avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails.