ABTA
is sending out a warning to agents to beware of fraudsters as it launches a
support service for members.

The
association is offering an informal advice facility to help agents prevent
fraudulent investors making millions out of the industry.

It
follows news ABTA’s hunt is hotting up for two men it alleges are behind a £1.9
million scam linked to member failures dating back to 1999. During the last
financial year, organised crime cost ABTA and credit card companies £5 million.

ABTA
head of legal affairs Riccardo Nardi said both he and trading practices officer
Steve Abrahamson were available to talk to agents about offers they may receive
for their businesses.

Nardi
warned agents should watch out for suspicious signs from potential investors, such
as showing little interest in accounts, offering a lot of money for businesses
upfront, or “something that seems too good to be true”.

Agents
must also let ABTA know when their business is taken over to avoid liability.

“If
agents are told not to tell the Civil Aviation Authority or ABTA, alarm bells
should start ringing,” he added.