Action Fraud and Abta urge consumers to beware of scams

Action Fraud and Abta are warning the public to “remain vigilant” about holiday scams, as bookings surge in the wake of news about the roadmap out of lockdown.

The bodies are reminding the public to “think twice” before handing over money and personal information when booking holidays.

They say that, in previous years, criminals have targeted unsuspecting holidaymakers booking airline tickets, holiday accommodation and religious pilgrimages.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud – the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime – said: “The surge in holiday bookings provides criminals with an opportunity to defraud innocent people out of a well-deserved break and their hard-earned cash.

“Criminals are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, which is why it’s important that we all do our research when booking a holiday and making travel arrangements. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

Graeme Buck, Abta communications director, added: “Fraudsters will take advantage of the fact that customers will be looking for good deals and they use increasingly sophisticated methods to target destinations and times of year when demand is high and availability limited.

“Victims often find out just before they travel or even while on holiday that they have been defrauded, it can then be very difficult and expensive to obtain a legitimate replacement booking.”

The bodies say that scams can range from fake accommodation listings advertising hotels and self-catering properties that don’t exist, to “too good to be true” offers for flights.

They advise consumers to check the legitimacy of web addresses and carry out thorough online search to ensure a company is credible.

They also urge the public to check whether the company is an Abta member, and to visit the CAA website to verify Atol credentials.

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