Stay safe online: Top tips for web bookings
The growth in online holiday bookings has led to an increase in holiday fraud as fake websites make it easier for fraudsters to operate. By following these tips, you can stay safe when booking online:
- Check that the website address that appears in the top window is correct. Fraudsters can clone legitimate websites but will change the last part of the web address, such as from .co.uk to .org. They can also produce a realistic-looking website, but with the spelling of the address slightly different from that of the authentic site
- Take some time to do your research. A thorough online search will throw up reviews which can reveal more about the holiday or company
- If the company you are using claims to be a member of a trade association then you should be able to easily verify membership on the trade association’s website, for example on www.abta.com
- When entering your personal or payment details online, make sure the site you are booking on is secure by having a padlock in the address bar and address beginning https:// or shttp://.
Paying for your holiday: Follow the guide below to make sure you make secure payments that are also protected
- Where possible, book with a credit card (or a debit card that specifically offers protection) – your credit card company protects purchases between £100 and £30,000. Do note, however, that there may be a surcharge for some credit card payments.
- You should never pay directly into an owner's bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money will not be traceable or refundable.
- Booking with an ABTA Member means you are booking with a reputable company that is bound by a strict code of conduct.
- Don’t use a Money Transfer Agent such as Western Union or Moneygram – these are not intended for commercial payments and payments cannot be traced if you encounter a problem.
- Check terms and conditions to confirm exactly what you are buying and don’t be afraid to ask questions. A legitimate company will be able to answer your queries straight away or get back to you with the answers you need.