In 2018, thousands of people lost over £1,000 to holiday scammers by booking tickets and trips that didn't exist.
Last year saw over 5,000 people scammed out of all - or part of - their holiday booking, as criminals tricked customers into booking trips that didn't even exist.
The amount lost by holidaymakers is estimated to be an average of £1,380 Action Fraud figures revealed - this totals more then £7 million stolen overall.
A popular scam concerns luxury villa bookings, where payments are taken for properties that aren't actually available - and the owners have no idea these stays are being being offered.
More than half (53%) of these travel scams involve flight bookings, with criminals particularly targetting people planning to visit family and friends in Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
What this means for you:
You need to be vigilant when booking travel either online or on the phone.
Scammers still exist, so take precautions before handing over payment for any travel booking.
These are our top tips to avoid holiday scammers:
- Check the website's credibility - Look for a range of company reviews to see if they're a widely trusted source.
- Check ABTA - See if the company is part of a recognised trade body such as ABTA.
- Pay by credit card whenever possible - This provides extra protection for your payment. Be very wary if you're ever asked to pay directly into a private bank account.
- If the cost is significantly cheaper than elsewhere, be suspicious - Great travel deals do exist, but if it seems too good to be true, be extra aware that it could be a scam.
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