There were 5,826 holiday scams reported in 2016
Holiday scams are on the rise. Action Fraud stated that there were 5,826 holiday scams reported in 2016. This is a 19 per cent increase on the year before.
A total sum of £7.2 million has been lost on holiday scams which equates to an average loss of £1200 per person.
Almost half of fraud victims highlighted in the City of London Police fraud data revealed the financial cost had a significant effect on their health with a further 575 revealing the impact was so severe they had to file for bankruptcy.
According to Daniel Landen, Managing Director of Protected Trust Services, holidays are considered “a big ticket item” for fraud adding fraudsters seek out the opportunity for a quick win.
To avoid being scammed out of your well earned holiday money, Mr Landen revealed to the Express.co.uk that there are a few simple rules to follow when booking a holiday to avoid being scammed.
The most significant thing to look out for when booking your holiday is the deal you’re being advertised.
Landen said: “If the deal seems too good to be true it inevitably is.
“Fraudsters tend to place offers that save consumers a lot of money. If a four bedroom villa in your chosen destination is generally £2000, but you find one for £1000 you absolutely must question why.”
Although it can be tempting to grab the deal, not checking thoroughly before booking could end up costing you.
Holiday homes are a fantastic holiday option for families and groups, but this is an area that is heavily targeted by fraudsters.
If the deal seems too good to be true it inevitably is
Don’t just email – pick up a phone and speak to a representative or owner
With so many websites offering the perfect holiday home at “affordable prices” Mr Landen explained that it’s essential to carry out your own checks and do not rely on the information provided on the website.
He said: “Don’t just email – pick up a phone and speak to a representative or owner. Ask lots of questions about the villa, local area, local restaurants, wifi connection etc.
“Someone who knows the venue will be able to answer all of these questions.”
He later added: “Look on Google Maps to see if the venue looks in good order and does reflect the information you have been given.”
Consumer protection is another area of holiday bookings to be wary of and to follow up before committing to spending any money.
Holiday homes are targeted by fraudsters
Landen advised: “Ask what consumer protection they have in place. Many private companies may say they don’t need to be regulated as they are only dealing with one element – the property.
“This is true, if they are dealing with just the venue. However, many have consumer protection in place and if they don’t you have to understand your monies are exposed.”
Fraudsters use panic pressure points to rush customers into committing to a deal. “A true holiday professional will not rush you”, explained Landen.
Following procedures to ensure your money is safe and protected is also imperative when booking.
Mr Landed said: “Never, ever pay by BACS or wire transfer. Always pay by credit card as you can charge back if there is an issue.
“You have no way to claim back once you pay the money. In today’s day and age you have to seriously question why someone just takes monies by BACS as it is completely unprotected”.