Warnings issued as £12.3m lost to holiday scams in 2023

Consumers are being urged to be “wise to fraudsters” as new figures reveal that victims of fraud lost £12.3 million to holiday scammers last year.

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting service, has partnered with Abta and the Civil Aviation Authority to caution holidaymakers about fraudulent bookings.

Their new campaign offers consumers advice about how to “play it safe online” and “to do their research” before booking their trip.

Last year, 6,640 reports of holiday fraud were made to Action Fraud and with most made in July and August, at 804 and 781 respectively.

With holidaymakers losing a combined total of £12.3 million, it meant there was an average loss of £1,851 per victim.

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Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “As people think ahead to book their holidays, understandably everyone is increasingly on the lookout for the best deals.

“With the cost-of-living crisis squeezing our finances, it’s easy to forget to stay vigilant against fraudsters offering cheaper deals and great prices that are too good to be true.

“We want to avoid people losing their hard-earned money and help raise awareness of the signs of holiday fraud.

“Before booking any trips or signing up to any deals, do your research and check for Abta and Atol logos before clicking the confirmation button. Remember: stay alert online and be wise to fraudsters.”

Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target consumers, with a particular focus on destinations and times of year when demand is high and availability limited, as they know people will be looking for good deals.

“Victims will often only find out they have been defrauded just before they are due to travel, or even in resort, when it can be very difficult to find a legitimate replacement leading to yet more cost and potential disappointment.

“One of the simplest ways to protect yourself when booking is to look for a company that is a member of Abta when booking your holiday.”

Anna Bowles, head of consumers and enforcement at the CAA, added: “Our research shows almost three in five of us are planning to go overseas this summer and expect to spend thousands of pounds on these trips. Before booking your trip abroad make sure you are doing everything you can to thwart fraudsters.

“Some protective measures include visiting the website to check your package trip is financially protected by Atol, pay by credit card if you can, and take out travel insurance as soon as you book.”

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