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How to avoid the most common travel scam

Dusty Baxter-Wright
Photo credit: Greg Bajor - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

Going on holiday should be a fun and relaxing experience but a new report reveals over 5,000 British travellers were left out of pocket after falling victim to holiday-related scams last year.

The majority of us spend the year counting down the days until we can switch our out of office on and lounge by the sea, which makes new findings from travel association ABTA, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online even more worrying.

The data revealed over £7 million worth of scams – an average of £1,380 per person – were reported last year, with the most common scam relating to the sale of airline tickets. Some 53 per cent of victims reported a crime in this category, with the biggest spike in August 2018.

The most common scam involved fraudsters targeting people with incredible flight deals, either online or via phone, that don't actually exist. The fraudsters will also offer free flights on social media platforms in order to steal personal information. Worryingly, the report explains how scammers have posed as the likes of EasyJet, Ryanair, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to offer holiday-goers fake tickets.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Below, Liz Mathews, Head of Flight Centre Retail, shares three steps you can take to avoid being targeted.

1. Is the website legitimate?

'Whether you’re booking a holiday online, over the phone or in a travel agent, always make sure you’ve checked you’re dealing with a legitimate company,' the travel expert comments. 'Look for travel authority logos such as ABTA and ATOL to reassure you and take note of other significant signs, such as choosing a travel company that has a nationwide store network even if you choose to book online with them.'

2. Do your research

'Look at what other people are saying about the holiday company you’re about to use,' she advises. 'Search for the company on reputable review sites like Trustpilot and look for patterns in the comments – Flight Centre has nearly 16,000 and growing 5* Trustpilot reviews and an overall "Excellent" rating of 9.7/10, which should offer a decent indication.'

3. Go with your gut

'If you’re being asked to do something out of the ordinary, like pay money directly to a person’s bank account, then you should be alarmed. And, as always, if something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is!'

Photo credit: Simon Belcher - Getty Images

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