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Holiday fraud

What it is

When you’ve paid a travel agent or agency, or someone offering short-term lodging for rent online, and find out that the holiday you’ve booked (or parts of it) doesn’t exist.

Protect yourself

  • Don’t reply to unsolicited emails, texts, social media or calls with holiday offers. Links and attachments in emails may lead to malicious websites or download viruses.
  • Book a holiday directly with an airline or hotel, or through a reputable agent. Check whether they’re a member of the Association of British Travel Agents.
  • If you decide to deal directly with the property owner or a letting agent, ask them questions about the booking, room, location and area. Don’t book on websites that don’t have a padlock icon (https) in the address bar, and be extra cautious if you’re asked to pay using bank transfer or cash; pay by credit or debit card if you can.

Spot the signs

  • You’re contacted out of the blue by a travel agent or company you’ve never spoken to before, offering a holiday at a very low price.
  • The details, pictures or address of the property or hotel on offer look suspicious, or independent website reviews aren’t favourable or don’t exist.
  • You’re asked to pay using bank transfer or cash; be cautious or pay by credit or debit card if you can for extra protection.

How it happens

Fraudsters use fake online adverts, bogus sales calls, emails and text messages offering incredibly cheap rates to tempt you in to booking a holiday with them.

They may steal images of hotels or rented apartments from other travel websites and pass them off as their own.

You’re told to pay in cash or via a bank transfer, such as MoneyWise or Western Union, which can be difficult to trace and isn’t refundable.

You may find out at the airport that you’re not booked on the promised flight, or once you arrive the hotel or letting doesn’t have your name booked for a stay, or extras that were part of your booking – such as excursions or transport – aren’t included.

In some cases, the fraudster may completely end contact after you’ve paid and won’t confirm anything you’ve booked; the holiday they’ve offered doesn’t exist.

You may be offered the chance to go on a free holiday in return for watching a presentation; this is holiday club fraud.

How to report it

If Fraud has been committed report it to Action Fraud. For more advice and to raise any concerns, contact the Office of the Public Guardian.

Source - Action Fraud

Date Published: Nov 13, 2019

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Fraud is when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person.

Advance fee fraud

Advance fee fraud is when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

Corporate fraud

Corporate fraud can be any fraud committed against a business.

Individual fraud

Individual fraud could be any fraud that targets a person directly. Individual frauds can differ from frauds affecting businesses and other organisations.

Online fraud

Some fraudsters rely on the internet to commit their crimes. Learn about some different types of internet frauds that and how to protect yourself and get safe online.

Identity fraud and identity theft

Identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and identity fraud is when those details are used to commit fraud.
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