Holiday scams ‘preying on people’s dreams’: Email trick to catch out scammers

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Criminals can expertly design websites that seem professional and convincing, using images of luxury villas and apartments that don’t exist to convince you they’re trusted and genuine. There have been increasing reports about holiday scams since the world started to open up again. Preying on people’s dreams of a welcome break away, after the past two years, most people are craving time away somewhere to recharge. Criminals play on all these consumer vulnerabilities and optimism.

Examples we have seen include:

  • Fake booking websites
  • Phishing scams where people are emailed with “too good to be true” deals
  • Holiday cancellation refund scams

Make sure you book a holiday with a reputable travel company or agent that is a member of a trade body such as ABTA or ATOL.

If you’re unsure please contact the company directly, not on a number you’re provided in an email.

Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

Scambusters Mailbag – answering your scam questions

Q1 How can I protect myself from these scams?

Take Five before you respond. And, use our five-point rule:

Beware of “too good to be true” offers or prices – if it’s at a rock bottom price ask yourself why.

Read terms and conditions and research the organisation you’re booking through before making any purchases. Verify that addresses exist through web searches and online maps.

Use a company that is a member of a trade body such as ABTA or ATOL.

Always use the secure payment options recommended by reputable online travel providers.

Finally, use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. It could help you get your money back if you are scammed.

Q2 I think I may have fallen for one of these scams, what should I do?

If you think that you have been taken in by a scam, take these two immediate steps:

Firstly, speak to your bank. Ask them to consider a refund.

There is a specific code set up for these cases, so the bank should consider all the facts you give them.

Lastly, we would also ask you to report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk.

Tip of the week

Check the email address that sent the message. You can do this by clicking on the email address – this will not put you at any risk. The sending email address should come from an email that includes the company address.

If you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website, or on the back of your credit or debit card.

Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101 or Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000.

STOP others being a cybercrime victim by reporting scams and suspicious emails. Forward the scam email to [email protected] Use Rightly to stop fraudsters sharing your data exposing you to scams.

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