News article

Travel and holiday booking fraud

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Top tips to avoid becoming a victim

ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), the City of London Police and Get Safe Online are warning the public about holiday booking fraud.

The most common types of fraud relate to the sale of airline tickets, booking accommodation online as well as timeshare sales.

A report compiled by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), reveals that fraudsters stole £7.2 million from almost 6,000 unsuspecting holidaymakers and travellers in 2016.

The average amount lost per person was approximately £1,200.

The two age groups most commonly targeted are those aged 20-29 and 30-39, with older generations less likely to fall victim, particularly those over 50 who are perhaps more wary of “too good to be true” offers.

The majority of those who are defrauded pay by methods such as bank transfer or cash with no means of getting their money back.

If you fall victim to holiday related fraud, contact Action Fraud via as soon as you can.

Top tips to avoid becoming a travel fraud victim

•          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 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

•          Pay safe: Never pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money is very difficult to trace and is not refundable. Wherever possible, pay by credit card or a debit card.

•          Check paperwork: You should study receipts, invoices as well as terms and conditions. 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.

•          Report it: Victims should contact Action Fraud via

•          Get free expert advice: For further advice on how to stay safe when booking or researching travel online, go to

For a full list of tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud please see:


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Devon & Cornwall Police, Press office
Police headquarters, Middlemoor

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