People deceived by holiday fraud lose £1,400 on average
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Peter McCall, is urging the public to protect themselves from online holiday scams as new research revealed an increase in fraud.
Recent findings from Get Safe Online and Airbnb shows how the cost-of-living crisis is creating conditions for fraudsters to thrive. Their research suggests that 71% of people living in Britain admit that they, or someone they know, has been a victim of fraud or a scam, and that victims of holiday scams, lose an average of £1,397 each. The survey revealed that 78% of respondents agree that there are more scams than ever before, and 70% of people agree that scams are becoming more convincing.
Holiday-goers can reduce their risk of falling victim to a scam by:
- Never clicking on links that you are not expecting – Learn how to spot fake emails, websites, texts, and social media posts as bogus links may take you to a fake website designed to look like websites you are familiar with.
- Being wary of unusually cheap deals or high deposits – If a deal or offer seems too good to be true, it could be a scammer and it is best to end all communication immediately.
- Paying by credit card, where possible, and avoid making bank transfers – Paying by credit card often offers better protection, and a higher chance of getting your money back.
PCC Peter McCall commissions online safety experts Get Safe Online in Cumbria and comments: “As more money is set aside for increasing living costs, including energy bills and mortgage payments, finding a good price on a holiday can seem too good to be true.
“People may think that they won’t be able to afford a holiday if they can’t get a good deal and this makes it an ideal time for scammers to take advantage of those looking to find a reduced-price holiday online.
“Get Safe Online’s holiday fraudster guide on how to stay safe when booking a holiday online, contains some really useful advice and simple tips on how to avoid being a victim to online holiday scams.
“Holiday fraudsters lure people into paying by bank transfer via fake but convincing ads, websites and phone calls. People can be drawn into booking impulsively, as soon as they see the price, if it means paying less.
“I would urge the public to double-check that the deals they are viewing are on a legitimate website or source, to avoid being scammed.
“It essential that we don’t take risks, are more vigilant and take our time when booking that well deserved trip.
“If you have been the victim of a scam or receive a suspicious email or text, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and the Police on 101.”
Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online comments: “As the cost-of-living rises, we want to help protect the people of Cumbria’s hard-earned cash and urge people to stay alert when it comes to booking a holiday. Trust your instincts and remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”
Detective Sergeant Jonathan Kelly, Cumbria Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit, said:“The variety of methods used by fraudsters to attract and deceive individuals is significant.
“Fraudsters use fake websites, listings, emails, advertisements, social media posts, texts and phone calls to trick you into buying and paying for what you think is a genuine holiday.
“We would call on everybody to be vigilant to such scams and take on board advice which we recently promoted in our fraud prevention newsletter.
“If a deal seems too good to be true, it most likely is exactly that – untrue. Do your homework on accommodation and travel companies, look at reviews from trusted sources.
“Also, please make sure travel agents and tour operators you book holidays and travel through are members of trade associations such as ABTA or ATOL. You can do this by checking on these bodies’ websites.”
If you would like information on the latest fraud prevention advice, you can sign up to our monthly newsletter. To do, visit www.cumbria.police.uk/apply-for-it/newsletter.
For more information, download Get Safe Online’s internet safety guides for guests and click on the link Get Safe Online