A report compiled by Action Fraud has revealed the scale of reported holiday booking fraud - with Brits losing a total of £6.7 million to this fraud type last year.
With 4,700 victims reporting to Action Fraud, the average amount lost per person was over £1,500, an increase of 25% year on year. This fraud also has other severe effects:
Nearly half (2,245) of victims said it had a significant impact on their health or financial wellbeing.
Over 10% (575) of people said the impact on them was so severe that they had to receive medical treatment or were at risk of bankruptcy.
4,700 people told Action Fraud they had been the victim of a travel related fraud in 2017.
- Fraudsters target peak holiday periods (Summer & December); when demand is high, but availability low.
- People travelling to visit family for public or religious holidays are at an increased risk.
- Where destinations were reported by victims, 54% said they had been intending to travel to Africa and 24% to Asia.
In 2017, the most common types of holiday booking fraud reported to Action Fraud related to:
Holiday accommodation – fraudsters set up fake websites, hack into legitimate accounts and post fake adverts on websites and social media.
Airline tickets – where a person believes they are booking a flight and receives a fake ticket or pays for a ticket that never turns up.
Sports & religious trips – a popular target for fraud due to limited availability of tickets and consequently higher prices.
Caravanning – a number of people reported being the victim of fraud relating to mobile home holidays.
TOP TIPS to avoid travel fraud:
- Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name (e.g. going from .co.uk to .org)
- 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.
- 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.
- Wherever possible, pay by credit card and be wary about paying directly into a private individual’s bank account.
- You should study 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.
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Victims should contact Action Fraud if they are affected by this, or any other type, of fraud.