A free holiday, surprisingly cheap flights, rare sports tickets – offers like this are often too good to be true. Have you fallen foul of holiday scammers?
According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), people in the UK lost more than £11m to holiday scams last year. On average, that works out at around £3,000 per scam victim. It seems that many of us are all too eager to believe in a special deal or one-time offer, especially if it comes with the promise of a holiday.
But if you’re savvy, you can spot a likely scam and avoid filling the tricksters’ coffers with your money. You can protect yourself against scammers by getting wise to their tricks. NFIB has identified the three most common holiday booking scams.
Fake accommodation and flight websites
Professional-looking websites selling ‘cheap’ flights and accommodation are easily set up. Criminals are even known to leave fake reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor. According to NFIB, sales of fake flights to Nigeria, India and Pakistan were particularly prevalent last year.
Our advice: Exceptionally low prices should set alarm bells ringing. Flight prices are largely set by the airlines, giving agents little leeway in price, so charging significantly less is often a sign something isn’t right.
Timeshares and holiday clubs
Timeshares and holiday clubs accounted for more than a quarter of the total reported losses, with victims losing anywhere between £9,000 and £35,000 each.
Our advice: Watch out for ‘free’ holiday offers – these were used to entice many victims of timeshare scams into attending a seminar where they were duped into buying a fraudulent timeshare.
Oversubscribed sports and religious trip tickets
The limited availability of tickets, and consequently higher prices, makes sporting events and religious trips a popular target for criminals.
Our advice: Only trust official ticket sellers, especially if you know an event is in high demand.
Spotting a scam
Boost your own resilience to scams by coming along to one of our scams roadshows as we travel across the UK, sharing expert advice. Our next stop is at the Leeds White Rose shopping centre on Friday 17 June.
So have you ever spotted a holiday scam? How do you protect yourself against tricksters?