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Holidaymakers 'must watch out for fraud'

16 April 2015 09:09

People who book holidays online are being warned to be wary of scams

People who book holidays online are being warned to be wary of scams

Holidaymakers are being offered advice to help them avoid being victims of fraudsters, who reportedly conned people out of £2.2 million through online scams in 2014.

A report by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau reveals criminals are using online booking firms to take money from consumers, who think they have paid for accommodation but find that no rooms have been booked for them when they actually reach their holiday resort.

ABTA, the police and Get Safe Online are pooling their resources to make it clear to people that they should take care when making online holiday bookings.

Deceptions and scams can have significant financial implications for holidaymakers, with one person losing £62,000 when they were offered a time-share that did not exist.

While fraud can sometimes be hard to detect, people can protect themselves from other holiday issues by investing in travel insurance policies.

Medical issues

Many people have lost considerable sums of money due to fraud, but the cost is not always measured in monetary terms.

Some 167 people have reported suffering health problems and needing medical treatment caused by the shock of falling victim of holiday fraud.

Scams 'cause emotional stress'

Being conned in this way causes a great deal of stress because of the effect it can have on a victim's finances, but there is often an emotional cost too, according to the chief executive of the travel association ABTA, Mark Tanzer.

It can be a personal loss to people when they find they cannot visit family or have a holiday they have been waiting for for a long time, Mr Tanzer says.

He says the association hears from victims of online travel fraud every year, but there is guidance available via the ABTA website that people can use to avoid becoming victims in the future.

Holiday fraud reporting 'crucial'

Mr Tanzer says some victims keep quiet about what happened to them but it is important to report scams so they can be investigated.

Many such frauds are reported during the summer months and also in December ahead of the Christmas break when people are travelling to see family and friends overseas.

Most reports come from people between the ages of 30 and 49, the data shows.