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Each year, fraudsters con innocent holidaymakers out of millions of pounds, not only costing them money but also ruining their holiday experience by leaving them stranded and unable to afford a replacement.

In 2017, fraudsters stole £6.7 million from 4,700 unsuspecting holidaymakers and other travellers, with the average amount lost per person coming in at over £1,500, an increase of 25% year on year.[1]

As customers begin to plan their all-important summer breaks, more and more people are booking their holidays online than ever before. Over the past two years, four in five people booked a holiday online (81% in 2018 and 83% in 2017).[2] Whilst a quick and easy way to book time away, consumers need to be aware of the common types of online booking fraud that exist, including fake websites for accommodation, fake airline tickets and fake timeshares and holiday clubs, in order to protect themselves.

So, don’t get scammed whilst booking your holiday this year…

Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB, shares three top tips to protect yourself from fraud whilst booking your holiday:

  1. Don’t be left behind at the airport – make sure that you’ve bought a genuine ticket. Fraudsters often sell cheap flights which look like they’re booked on a genuine airline, but when you come to check-in you’ll be told that your booking doesn’t exist. Avoid this scam by booking directly with airlines, or with a travel agent that is a member of ABTA.
  2. Another common trick is to sell you accommodation that turns out to be either a fake booking or a non-existent hotel. Again, use reputable booking sites – and always pay using the site’s own platform; don’t be fooled into transferring money direct to a fraudster posing as the owner.
  3. Fraudsters make a fortune by selling services that are actually free, for example asking you to pay for a European Health Insurance Card, or by selling you a visa that you don’t need. Check visa and other travel requirements before you travel by visiting the Foreign Office website for official advice, and – if you do need one, check that the site is legitimate before purchasing.

Ashley says: “Above everything, stop and think before you book. Fraudsters thrive on stressful or rushed situations, for example holiday bookings made at the last minute, because we’re less likely to think things through before making a payment or surrendering our information.

“Always give yourself enough time to make a good decision.”

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