Action Fraud urge people to be on the lookout for “too good to be true” flight deals
Flights to Africa and the Indian subcontinent are among the destinations thought to be targeted by fraudsters.
As we approach the holiday season, when it is expected that an increasing number of UK residents will be traveling overseas to visit friends and family, Action Fraud is warning people to be on the lookout for fraudulent travel websites and unsolicited phone calls from scammers promising “too good to be true” deals on flights.
As well as flights relating to holidays, fraudsters particularly target the friends and family market, with flights to Africa and the Indian subcontinent dominating the list of affected destinations.
Fraudsters use a variety of methods to target people, most commonly cold calling and pretending to be from a travel company after the victim has unknowingly entered their personal details on a bogus website.
The caller appears to know that the victim has been recently searching online to book flights and after gaining their trust, will make a ‘too good to be true’ offer on flight tickets to lure them into making a payment.
After transferring the money, victims may receive a confirmation email but any further attempts to contact the company will be unsuccessful and enquiries with the airline will reveal that the booking does not exist.
Top tips to avoid becoming a victim of travel 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 check the company’s credentials. If a company is defrauding people there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences, and warnings about the company.
- Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. If you have any doubts, you can verify membership of ABTA online, at www.abta.com.
- Pay safe: Wherever possible, pay by credit card and be wary about paying directly into a private individual’s bank account.
- Check documentation: You should study 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.
- Trust your instincts: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Report it: Victims should contact Action Fraud.
- Get free expert advice: For further advice on how to stay safe when booking or researching travel online, visit Get Safe Online.
ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
We provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and cyber crime.
The easiest way to report fraud and cyber crime is by using our online reporting tool.Report
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