Leicestershire residents browsing online for a holiday this summer are being urged to be wary of falling victim to scams.
Our Trading Standards team is warning would-be holidaymakers to be on the lookout for holiday scams and to take precautions to avoid booking fraud.
Every year, Trading Standards receives complaints from people who have been scammed by fraudsters who take money for holiday flights and accommodation which do not exist. Some frauds involve scammers setting up fake websites and posting fake accommodation listings online and on social media.
Reports of customers paying out hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds for flights and accommodation which never materialise, always go up at this time of the year and we want to warn people to be on the lookout for this type of scam.
"If a holiday deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.Person:Gary Connors, head of regulatory services
Leicestershire Trading Standards has published some tips to help would-be holidaymakers avoid the scammers:
- Use a reputable, legitimate company for holiday bookings;
- Beware of holidays which are considerably cheaper than the average cost elsewhere;
- Do your own online research and check multiple online reviews;
- Check for spelling mistakes on websites;
- Watch out for fake listings on booking websites such as Airbnb and don’t communicate with the seller outside of the site’s official mail system;
- Be wary if the only option for payment is bank transfer;
- The name and address of the company should be displayed on the website;
- If you are dealing with a Limited Company, check that it exists on Companies House website www.gov.uk/get-information-about-a-company;
- Where a company claims to be a part of a trade association such as ABTA or ATOL, check that they are members through the association’s website; and
- For purchases over £100 consider putting part of the payment on a credit card to receive more protection.
Anyone who has fallen victim to a holiday booking scammer should contact their bank or credit card company. Reports can also be made to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk, by calling 0300 123 2040, or through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.