Action Fraud is warning the public to remain vigilant against holiday fraud, as travel restrictions begin to ease.
Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, received 1.907 reports of holiday and travel related fraud in 2020/21 financial year – a decrease of over 70 per cent when compared to the previous financial year.
However, although a decline in reporting was predicted due to the fact travel was banned for large periods of the year, losses by victims still totalled £2,205,251 during this time – a average loss of £1,242 per victim.
Top tips 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 experience, 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 website. 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. You should avoid 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 a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
For a full list of tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, please visit https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/planning-and-booking-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.
Message Sent By
Dannielle Lee (Police, Cyber Protect Officer, South Yorkshire)