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Three common holiday scams and how to avoid them

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If you’re thinking about booking a holiday online, don’t let these scams ruin your trip – and leave you out of pocket.

Fraud may not be the first thing on your mind when booking a holiday but each year fraudsters con innocent holidaymakers out of millions of pounds.

In 2017, criminals stole £6.7m from 4,700 unsuspecting holidaymakers and other travellers, with the average amount lost per person coming in at over £1,500, according to Action Fraud figures.

Booking online is quick and convenient – four in five people booked a holiday online in the past two years, ABTA figures show. But the internet has made it easier for fraudsters to scam victims.

Here, Ashley Hart, head of fraud at TSB, explains the common types of online booking fraud that exist and how you can protect yourself:

Fake airline tickets

Make sure that you’ve bought a genuine ticket. Fraudsters often sell cheap flights which look like they’re booked on a genuine airline, but when you come to check-in you’ll be told that your booking doesn’t exist. Avoid this scam by booking directly with airlines, or with a travel agent that is a member of ABTA.

Non-existent accommodation

Another common trick is to sell you accommodation that turns out to be either a fake booking or a non-existent hotel. Again, use reputable booking sites – and always pay using the site’s own platform; don’t be fooled into transferring money direct to a fraudster posing as the owner.

Charging for free services

Fraudsters make a fortune by selling services that are actually free, for example asking you to pay for a European Health Insurance Card, or by selling you a visa that you don’t need. Check visa and other travel requirements before you travel by visiting the Foreign Office website for official advice, and – if you do need one, check that the site is legitimate before purchasing.

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