Holiday booking fraud is when people hand over money only to discover the holiday, accommodation or flight they paid for doesn’t exist.
Fraudsters are conning unsuspecting holidaymakers and travellers out of millions of pounds each year or leaving them stranded with nowhere to stay.
The most common types of booking fraud are:
- Holiday Accommodation: Fraudsters are making full use of the internet to con holidaymakers by setting up fake websites, hacking into legitimate accounts and posting fake adverts on websites and social media.
- Airline tickets: Where a customer believes they are booking a flight and receives a fake ticket or pays for a ticket that never turns up.
- Sports and religious trips: A popular target for fraud due to limited availability of tickets and consequently higher prices.
- Caravanning: Action fraud reported a number of consumers reporting being the victim of fraud relating to mobile home holidays.
- Timeshares and holiday clubs: The sums involved with this form of fraud are particularly high with victims losing typically thousands of pounds.
Top tips to help avoid holiday booking fraud
Stay safe online:
Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org.
Do your research:
Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible. If they’re suspect, other people may well have posted their experiences warning people off.
Look for the logo:
Check whether the company is an ABTA Member. Look for the ABTA logo on the company's website and if you have any doubts, verify membership by visiting our Find a Member section. If you're booking a flight and want more information about ATOL protection, or would like to check whether a company is an ATOL holder, then please visit the CAA website.
Never pay directly into a private individual's bank account.
Check the paperwork:
You should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all. When booking through a Holiday Club or Timeshare, get the contract thoroughly vetted by a solicitor before signing up.
Use your instincts:
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Victims should always contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or register via Action Fraud.
Get free expert advice:
For further advice on how to stay safe when booking or researching travel online, go to Get Safe Online