In the big rush to book flights and accommodation for sun-filled adventures abroad this summer, we’re urging you to be extremely careful to avoid becoming a victim of holiday fraud.
In the past financial year, Action Fraud - the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime - received 4,244 reports of holiday and travel related fraud – recorded a substantial increase of more than 120% when compared to the previous financial year.
Victims reported losing a total of £7,388,353 – that’s a whopping average loss of £1,868 per victim.
Action Fraud has launched a national awareness campaign to urge the public to think twice before handing over money and personal information when booking holidays online.
Don't be left with that empty feeling
In support of the campaign, we’re asking people across our policing area to follow these top tips:
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 as part of a package holiday 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.
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.
We hope this awareness and advice helps you to book your summer jollies with confidence.