Agents report spate of fraudulent booking enquiries

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Agents report spate of fraudulent booking enquiries

Agents fear fraudsters are targeting the trade after a raft of bookings and enquiries for high-value, lastminute holidays in recent weeks.

Independent agents, particularly in the northwest of England, have reported suspicious enquiries for flights to Turkey and Dubai and five-star accommodation for five nights with just two or three days’ notice.

One agency, which has been targeted three times, has lost £2,400. Another has lost £2,300 on an identical booking for flights departing from Manchester for a five night all-inclusive stay at the Rixos Premium Belek in Turkey.

In both cases, debit cards passed initial security checks. Agents later discovered false addresses and stolen cards had been used.

One of the agents, who did not want to be named, said: “We don’t need this at a time when bookings are sparse. We’ve lost so much money due to Covid, we can’t afford to lose money through fraud as well.”

Other agents reported similar potentially fraudulent enquiries. Pole Travel in Failsworth took an enquiry for an expensive, last-minute trip to Dubai. Director Jill Waite said: “It was very specific. They wanted business-class flights from Manchester three days later to Dubai for five nights. As soon as we asked them to pay by bank transfer instead of card, they didn’t proceed.

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