Scam warning for those planning a vacation this year
If you’re planning to go on vacation or attend a festival this summer when the restrictions end, you need to be on the lookout for scammers, a trade association has warned.
People are on notice of criminals who are on the verge of bombarding unsuspecting victims with ticketing, travel and health insurance scams as lockdown restrictions ease.
With many people looking to book vacations and tickets to concerts or festivals, scammers are advertising fake tickets at low prices as well as for already sold out events, UK Finance said.
He warned people to beware of scam emails, phone calls, bogus websites and social media posts.
To stay safe, people are reminded to follow the Take Five To Stop Fraud campaign advice and think carefully before parting with their money or personal information.
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “Criminals have taken advantage of the pandemic to commit frauds, and the easing of foreclosure restrictions gives them another opportunity to target victims.
“When you start booking vacations and planning social events, don’t let criminals take you for a ride.
“Follow the Take Five To Stop Fraud campaign advice and always visit the websites you buy from by typing it into the web browser – avoid clicking any links in unsolicited emails or text messages.
“Beware of any request for payment by wire transfer when purchasing or booking services online, and instead use a credit card or secure payment options recommended by reputable websites.”
Tips for spotting and avoiding scams
Here are some Take Five To Stop Fraud tips for spotting and avoiding scams:
– Criminals will come up with “travel deals” to get your money and information. Websites may appear genuine, but subtle changes in the URL may indicate that they are fraudulent. Websites may use images of luxury villas and apartments that do not exist. These are offered for hire, often at reduced prices and require deposits that are never returned.
Where possible, book directly with an established hotel or through a reputable travel agency / agent who is a member of a professional body such as Abta or Atol.
– Always use secure payment options recommended by reputable online travel providers and do not accept separate payment requests by wire transfer.
Where possible, use a credit card when booking holidays over £ 100 and up to £ 30,000 as you have protection under Section 75 of the Credit Act for consumption.
– When traveling in the EU, people will be able to access emergency and medical care with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This card replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Criminals ask people for payment details, when GHIC is free. These are advertising cards on fake websites that mimic the NHS. They claim to speed up or manage your application process before they charge an upfront fee.
The GHIC can be obtained directly via the NHS website.
– Criminals can also target people with fake “Covid certificates” and “passports”. The posts often include a link to a fraudulent website, used to steal personal and financial information.
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