Abta and Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, are warning consumers about a new flight ticket scam.

The reporting centre said it has received 110 reports about the fresh fraud tactics, with total losses of £98,043.

It said crooks are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad, and consumers are being “cold-called by fraudsters purporting to be travel companies”.

The statement from Action Fraud said: “Fraudsters in these cases are using new tactics to gain the victim’s trust.

“Intelligence suggests they appear to know that the victim has recently been searching to book flights online.

“It is suspected that this is because the victim has provided their contact details when making a search for flights on a bogus website which records their personal details.

“Once contacted, the victim wrongly believes the call to be genuine and a deliberately low quote for the desired flights tempts many victims into making payment.

“After having made a payment for flights as a result of the call, victims have reported receiving a confirmation email but further enquiries with the airline have revealed their booking does not exist.

“When victims have attempted to re-contact the suspect they have found that all contact has been severed.”

Action Fraud urges people to be wary of unsolicited calls, emails and texts offering “questionably good deals” on flights.

“Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said the centre.

It advises consumers to check companies’ details on Abta and Atol databases, and to avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer as it offers little protection.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “We see holiday and flight-related frauds at peak times throughout the year, but this type of fraud is different.

“By contacting people who have recently searched for flights online, the fraudsters are able to gain the victim’s trust much more quickly.”

Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “Travellers are at risk from increasingly sophisticated attempts to sell them fraudulent flight tickets.

“For those unlucky enough to fall victim to this malicious activity, it causes real financial and emotional distress, while also shattering their plans for a holiday or a visit to see family and friends.

“To protect yourself from fake flight tickets, research the company you are booking with and if booking online to thoroughly check the web address to make sure it is legitimate.

“For further advice visit abta.com and if you think you’ve bought a fraudulent ticket report it to Action Fraud.”

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