Travel News

Sun, sea and scammers: How to avoid holiday cons this summer

Simon Calder’s Travel

It can sometimes be easy to miss vital warning signs that something could be a scam when caught up in the excitement of booking a holiday.

Sometimes, holidaymakers will only find out they have been defrauded when they are due to travel or arrive at their destination.

And with people often spending months saving their hard-earned cash as they dream about getting away, it can be all the more devastating if that money then ends up in the account of a fraudster.

Victims of holiday fraud lost £1,851 on average last year, with July and August seeing spikes in this type of scam, according to figures from Action Fraud.

Over a third (35%) of travellers aged 18 to 35 say they’ve been scammed on holiday in the past year, according to a new survey for travel debit card Currensea – making this an age group that appears to be particularly at risk.

Common types of holiday fraud include booking a flight or accommodation on scam websites and trips being offered on social media that turn out to be bogus.

Fraudulent social media promotions could include event tickets, package holidays or accounts impersonating airlines or hotels that ask for banking details or additional payments.

Scams may be particularly effective when people are in the “holiday mood” and their guard is down.

ATM skimming, for example, can happen where devices are installed on a cash machine to capture personal details including a user’s Pin and “shoulder surfing” where fraudsters watch a customer enter their Pin and then later steal their card.

People may also be offered tours when they’re on holiday that don’t exist.

Watch out for holiday scams this summer (Alamy/PA)
Watch out for holiday scams this summer (Alamy/PA)

Many people appear to be taking precautions though. Concerns over scams have led to more than three-quarters (78%) of travellers to taking extra safety precautions when spending on holiday, the survey found.

Over two-fifths (43%) of holidaymakers say they avoid bank transfers in favour of card payments for increased protection, according to the Opinium survey of 2,000 people across the UK in March.

Paying by credit or debit card or by PayPal, for example, can give an added layer of protection if something goes wrong.

People who have paid by card for services or goods that don’t materialise can try contacting their provider to make a chargeback claim.

Credit card users may be able to make a claim under Section…

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