Holidays can see Britons part with a hefty chunk of money and a warning has been issued to make sure holidaymakers know their funds are going to legitimate sources. Trade association UK Finance has issued a warning for holiday scams. The financial body cautioned that consumers should be on the lookout for fraudsters.
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Scams including fake caravan and motorhome listings, refund offers and travel deals have been circulating – and it’s vital you are not taken advantage of.
UK Finance explained in their latest travel advice that criminals are taking advantage of uncertainty around coronavirus travel restrictions and cancellations to target their victims and commit fraud.
Scammers may pose as trusted organisations such as airlines, travel agencies or banks.
They use a range of methods to approach their victims, including scam emails, telephone calls, fake websites and posts on social media and auction websites.
UK Finance has issued guidance in line with its Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to encourage Britons to think before they part with money when booking a holiday.
Holidaymakers looking into getting their hands on a caravan or motorhome this summer are urged to be careful.
Criminals are exploiting the growing demand for ‘staycations’ in the UK this summer.
According to UK Finance, they have been advertising fake listings for caravans and motorhomes on auction sites and citing lockdown restrictions as the reason vehicles can’t be viewed in person.
These vehicles are advertised at attractive prices to tempt people into believing they’re getting a good deal when in reality they simply don’t exist or don’t arrive once paid for.
The financial trade association has issued the following advice:
– Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices – if it’s at a rock bottom price ask yourself why.
– Do your research before making any purchases and ask to see vehicles over video if you’re unable to see them in person.
– Use the secure payment methods recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites and don’t accept requests to pay separately via a bank transfer.
– Where possible, use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75.
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Holidaymakers are also being cautioned to keep an eye out for fake refunds for cancellations.
Criminals may attempt to defraud people after refunds via phishing emails, ‘spoofed’ calls or social media posts and adverts claiming to be offering refunds from airlines, travel providers or banks.
Often emails and posts will include links leading to fake websites used to steal personal and financial information that can infect a victim’s device with malware.
Consumers should follow this advice:
– Don’t click on links or attachments in social media posts or emails.
– Question uninvited approaches and contact organisations directly to confirm requests using a known email or phone number.
– Only give out your personal or financial information to services you have consented to and are expecting to be contacted by.
Britons should also be wary of cheap travel deal scams.
Fake websites may offer ‘cheap travel deals’ which are used to obtain your money and information.
Websites may look similar to the genuine organisation’s but subtle changes in the URL can indicate that it’s fraudulent.
These websites may also seem professional and convincing, using images of luxury villas and apartments that don’t exist to convince victims they’re trusted and genuine. These are offered for rent, often at discounted prices and require a deposit to be made which is never returned.
You should always remember the following:
– Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices
– Where possible, use a credit card when booking holidays over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75.
– Use the secure payment options recommended by online travel providers and don’t accept requests to pay separately via a bank transfer.
– Read online reviews from reputable sources to check websites and bookings are legitimate.
– Access the website you’re purchasing from by typing it into the web browser and avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails.
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “We would urge customers to also be on the lookout for scams and follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. Always be wary of any requests to pay by bank transfer when buying goods or services online and instead use the secure payment options recommended by reputable websites.
“It’s also important to question any emails, phone calls or social media posts offering refunds for cancelled holidays and not to click on links or attachments in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact organisations directly to confirm requests using a known email or phone number such as the one on their official website.
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