Holiday fraud is up by a third: How you can avoid being scammed this summer

Holidaymakers are being urged to take care when planning their summer break as the number of scams linked to fake holidays rose by a third, research has revealed.

Lloyds Bank said fraud relating to flight bookings was up by 13 per cent in the 12 months to March 2022, with £2,955 lost on average.

It is likely scams have increased as customers begin booking trips abroad again after the pandemic put a halt to vacations.

The research found scam reports linked to hotels were up by 18 per cent, with the average amount lost £1,231.

Package holiday scams also saw a 17 per cent increase during the same period, with victims losing an average of £2,342 on average.

The biggest increase in holiday booking scams came from scams linked to fake caravan bookings: cases surged by 108 per cent year-on-year, although the average amount lost in each case was much lower at £374.

More from Bills

Many of the scams originate via a false advert on search engines or social media.

Victims click on a link taking them to a website believing they are dealing with a legitimate company.

Lloyds said it was easy for scammers to impersonate genuine firms online and that fraudsters often lurked on real accommodation listing sites, convincing victims to transfer cash directly rather than through the official platform.

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Now that most pandemic restrictions have come to an end, many of us will be looking forward to a more traditional summer holiday. But with demand soaring and prices rising fast, would-be holidaymakers can’t afford to let their guard down when hunting for the best deals.

“Scammers are ready to cash in on any last minute surge in bookings, so it’s vital that consumers know how to stay safe.

“Book directly with trusted sites or travel agents, avoid following links on social media, and always pay by card for the greatest protection. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is.”

How to avoid holiday scams this summer

  • Great deals don’t find you: Fraudsters put adverts for fake holidays on social media and the internet. They can also send an offer by email or text pretending to be from a real company. Often, a deal will look much cheaper than those you can find elsewhere.
  • Make sure it’s genuine: Book a holiday with a company that is ABTA- or ATOL-protected. Take your time to make sure an offer is genuine before you choose to buy. Look for reviews from different customers and find a company that has lots of good reviews rather than bad ones or no reviews at all.
  • Protect how you pay: The safest way to pay for a holiday is to use your debit or credit card. If a site or company wants you to pay another way, such as direct to a bank account or by wire transfer, it could be a scam. If you pay this way and things go wrong, you may not get your money back.