Fraudsters have stolen £6.7 million from 4,700 unwitting holidaymakers in 2017 according to a report compiled by Action Fraud. Action Fraud is the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, which is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime, to whom you should report any fraud in which you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber-crime.
The report states that the average amount lost per person was in excess of £1,500, a 25% increase on the previous year. The report goes on to say that 2,245 victims reported saying that, as a result of their experiences, they had suffered an impact on their health and/or financial wellbeing. Shockingly, 575 people reported seeking medical treatment or being at risk of bankruptcy, because of this type of fraud.
The most common type of fraud relates to the sale of airline tickets, offering fake seats and package arrangements. The number of people reporting travel fraud significantly increases during the summer and Christmas holiday weeks, where prices are higher and availability lower, offering customers substantial discounts.
How to avoid the Fraudsters and what to check before booking your holiday:
Online and Aware: Fraudsters often change or make slight adjustments to legitimate companies hijacking their websites in order to trick people into thinking they are searching a reputable company. To avoid this check company IP addresses, this is surprisingly easy to do. Just copy the address from the top bar of your computer and paste it into an IP address checker from a search engine. You can also check on Companies House website if you are still unsure. Companies House allows you to check who the company director is, how long they have been established for and even their accounts. Which? Is also a very valuable resource when researching companies, they are a non-for-profit organisation who work for the consumer.
Research, Research, Research: This is more than likely your biggest purchase of the year and there are a ton of review sites out there to refer to before you commit your hard earned money. Try TripAdvisor, The Holiday Watchdog or Which? For a start. There are some bargains and good deals to be had, but these are normally booked far in advance and not during peak months and weeks.
Are they Accredited? Any company you travel with or book through should be a member of either ABTA or ATOL. These organisations ensure that your holiday cost is protected, and will repatriate you back to the UK if your airline or holiday provider collapses whilst you are abroad. Remember Monarch Airlines?
Protect your Payment: When possible pay by credit card, all credit card transactions between the amounts of £100 – £30,000, are protected by section 75 of the consumer act. This means your payment is insured against the Credit Card Provider should the company disappear into thin air.
Lastly, trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
If you have purchased a product and feel it has been miss-sold to you, please get in touch with us to discuss a possible money back claim.