Action Fraud scam warning for Brits planning overseas vacations

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As lockdown restrictions ease, many Britons will book holidays abroad.

The government released a traffic light system after the ‘Stay in UK’ regulation ended on May 17th.

Currently, the only major viable tourist destination is Portugal after being placed on the green list.

However, it is hoped that popular summer hotspots such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece will soon be removed from the Amber List.

But vacationers are being warned by Action Fraud of a new scam, which could ruin your plans.

Figures show that nearly a third of those affected by holiday fraud are duped by a social media ad, with Facebook being the most common platform people have been targeted on, BirminghamLive reports.

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The government released a traffic light system after the ‘Stay in UK’ regulation ended on May 17th.

Others were deceived by a fake website that looked like a real one.

Some of the people targeted by the scams only find out they have been duped upon arrival at the airport and cannot check-in.

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting center, asks citizens to be vigilant when they are tempted to organize vacations.

Pauline Smith, Chief Fraud Officer, said: “We are all more eager than ever to go on vacation and relax with our family and friends, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, criminals will stop at nothing when it comes to defrauding the innocent. a well-deserved break and their hard-earned money.

“Criminals are increasingly using more sophisticated means to deceive their victims, which is why it is important that we do all of our research when booking vacations and making travel arrangements.

“Whether you are planning to travel abroad or take a vacation in the country this year, remember that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Ms Smith said that even in the previous fiscal year from April 2020 to April 2021 – when the UK was either locked out or under tiered restrictions and travel was severely restricted – the crooks have managed to defraud people of £ 2.2million, an average loss of £ 1,242. per victim.

The numbers show that most of the scams involved fake airline ticket reservations. The majority of victims were between 19 and 50 years old (73%).

Almost a third (32%) of the reports indicated that the victim had been in contact with the suspect after responding to an approach or advertisement on a social media platform. Among these reports, Facebook was the most common platform (62%) where victims were defrauded.

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Online booking platforms, such as Airbnb and Booking.com, were mentioned in almost 10% of the reports.

Some victims (7%) have been duped by fake websites masquerading as legitimate travel companies.

The victims had searched online for airline tickets and found a website they believed to be the company’s real website. In other cases, victims have used what they believe to be a real flight comparison website to search for thefts.

In these cases, the victims said they were contacted by someone claiming to be from the airline or flight comparison website to walk them through the booking process and take payment.

Tips for avoiding fraud while on vacation

· Stay Safe Online: verify that the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name, such as changing from .co.uk to .org.

· Do your research: don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online research to make sure the business is credible. If a business is defrauding people, chances are consumers will post details about their experience and disclaimers about the business.

· Look for the logo: check if the company is a member of ABTA. Look for the ABTA logo on the company’s website. If you have any doubts, you can check ABTA membership online on their website. If you are booking a flight and want more information about ATOL protection, or if you want to check if a company is an ATOL holder, visit the ACA website.

· Pay securely: where possible, pay by credit card. You should avoid paying directly to an individual’s bank account.

· Check the papers: you should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be wary of companies that do not provide them at all. When booking through a vacation club or timeshare, have the contract checked by a lawyer before signing up.

· Use your instincts: if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it online to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.



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