Holiday and travel scams.

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

As many people decide on whether to book holiday or not, comes a timely reminder from Metro Bank to be wary about how you book and with who you book.

Be wary and do check it out as thoroughly as you can. If in doubt – run a mile!

Most readers will be aware of a range of holiday scams that have existed over the years and you can bet that many are still around.

The holiday let that isn’t owned or represented by the people who take the money is one typical example along with the holiday home that doesn’t exist at all but is just a photograph.

But scammers might stand a better chance this year because there is more a feel that people want to get away from having been cooped up for a year. It might mean that our guard is lowered a little so, above all, we should be more cautious than ever. 

It doesn’t only apply to overseas breaks.

One scam that has grown concerns the growth in camper vans, caravans and camping breaks. The bank points out that fake caravan/holiday home/camper van/ motorhome have been advertised and when people enquired, a deposit was requested in order to confirm the sale. If the owner wants it paid quickly and in very specific ways or unusual ways be wary and walk away.

Adam Speakman, head of fraud and investigations at Metro Bank says, “The principle to stop all of these is the same, don’t be pressured to act hastily.”

The bank highlights eight things holidaymakers and travellers should consider;

1.    Does the rental/flight price seem incredibly good value – a luxury rental for a bargain basement price for peak season?  Scammers want to tempt you – is it all too good to be true?

2.    Use reputable online booking companies – be cautious, check out their reviews. Just about Travel suggests that yout be wary reviews can be bought so be wary of groups of reviews appearing on just a few days.

3.    Where possible, book directly with established reputable airline providers and check the airline is a member of a trade body such as ABTA or ATOL and IATA. Don’t believe what they say on their website about membership. Go to the body itself and check to see if the airline is listed.

4.    To be financially protected pay for your deposit and holiday with a credit card or via a recognised merchant service such as PayPal.

5.    Criminals may use websites that appear genuine; check for subtle changes/errors in URL, genuine websites will have secure payment channels. Check that the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing in your browser and that the website that you are visiting has ‘https’ at the beginning (although this doesn’t prove that the website is selling genuine tickets, it makes sure the website is secure).

6.    If you are being encouraged to leave a recognised selling platform to complete the purchase, you may forfeit your buyer protection from that site – don’t do it just to save money on fees. 

7.    Can you check if the property exists?  Try using Google Street View to check out the property and area.  Using Google Images will let you see if the photos of the interior have been used elsewhere on the internet for other properties indicating it is a potential scam.

8.    Be wary of sharing any personal information – NEVER give bank details or personal information such as passwords or PINs, or transfer money quickly – especially if you are being put under pressure to do so.

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