Guest blog: this blog is written by a Cifas partner.
Recently, I called into one of the few remaining travel agents in my town to research and book a holiday. Yes, that’s right – someone who loves the internet and does everything online. So how did I benefit from my foray into the high street?
For starters, I got the opportunity to interact with another human being, always a good thing in these days where online-only and self-service are king.
But also, I got great advice tailored to my family circumstances and my preferences. I felt reassured that I was making the right choice (and coincidentally, my advisor’s colleague had just been on a ‘fam trip’ to my favoured destination).
And, of course, I got the reassurance that I was dealing with a real travel agent, a real tour operator and booking a real destination that’s really available the week I want to go.
I emphasise this because every year, thousands of people in the UK become victims of holiday fraud – expertly manipulated into shelling out their hard-earned savings for accommodation, flights, or entire holidays that simply don’t exist.
Whether it’s an expensive, all-inclusive two-week package holiday to a far-flung resort relaxing under palm trees with warm waters lapping around your feet, or a week in a caravan in Swanage, the anticipation of spending time away from work relaxing with your loved ones is so enticing.
Equally, the disappointment of realising that you’ve been hoodwinked, either when the tickets don’t turn up, or the caravan has been fraudulently booked ten times over when you arrive, is devastating. No holiday, no possibility of a refund, a disgruntled family, a frustrated you. And if you’ve booked on behalf of groups of friends or extended families, it’s even worse.
Fake holiday, accommodation or flight ads can appear in a number of places: on social media, on selling and auction sites, and even on legit specialist accommodation websites. For the fraudster, it’s easy to perpetrate and the rewards are rich. So how can you spot a scam and take the precautions you need to avoid disappointment and financial losses?
Oh, and a cheeky but vital 11th tip: make sure you always report fraud to Action Fraud.
For the full story on safeguarding your trip away, I recommend you visit our advice page on booking holidays and travel. Read our advice and book your holiday online with the same confidence as if you’d visited your high street travel agent!
In an extract from our report Fraudscape, Cifas' data expert Sandra Peaston looks at the growth of facility takeover fraud in 2016.CONTINUE READING
What’s the difference between identification and authentication? We look at the different processes organisations use to confirm your identity.CONTINUE READING