Holidaymakers are being urged not to make false sickness compensation claims as the peak holiday season draws to a close.
Abta issued the warning as unscrupulous claims firms are predicted to bombard customers returning home telling them they are “entitled” to claim from a pot of money set aside by the government or their travel firm.
Abta said holidaymakers could face criminal prosecution if they make a false or exaggerated claim.
Tui and Thomas Cook have begun successfully challenging claims after Abta reported the number of fraudulent claims had increased by 500% since 2013.
Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “Holidaymakers need to understand that making a fraudulent claim will have consequences. People should be very wary of any company that encourages them to make a dishonest or exaggerated claim. Whatever a claims firm might say, fake claims are fraud.”
Travel Weekly launched its Fight Fake Claims campaign in June, and Abta has lobbied government and publicised the issue under its Stop Sickness Scams initiative.
This week, Abta highlighted the experience of one holidaymaker, who faced a barrage of calls from claims management firms.
Tracey Krieger from London was cold-called by firms asking if she had become unwell after returning from an all-inclusive holiday in Mexico. She said: “It really annoys me that these companies can get away with this. We will all end up losing out as this will cause holiday prices to rise.”
Abta and Travel Weekly have demanded the government close a loophole that allows firms to profit from personal injury claims related to overseas incidents.
In July, ministers said they would act to limit the legal costs firms charge.