Action Fraud reveals holiday fraud has increased by 120 per cent in a year
Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime has revealed that incidents of reported holiday fraud have risen to over 120 per cent compared to the previous year.
In the financial year 2021/22, Action Fraud received 4,244 reports of holiday and travel related fraud. Victims reported losing a total of £7,388,353 – an average loss of £1,868 per victim.
In response, Action Fraud has launched a national awareness campaign today to urge the public to think twice before handing over money and personal information when booking holidays.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said that as the demand for holidays is increasing following the travel restricted introduced during the Pandemic, then so have incidents of fraud.
She urged the public to do their research before handing over their money or personal details.
Graeme Buck ABTA Director of Communications said: ‘Over the years ABTA has seen the damage caused by travel fraudsters when devastated customers find out their holiday or trip to visit friends and family does not actually exist. The cost to them is not just financial; travel-related fraud crime also causes emotional distress and extreme disappointment.’
Whilst many accommodation providers who make use of online booking platforms are legitimate, some criminals will use these platforms to defraud victims by advertising counterfeit accommodation.
Over seven per cent of victims reported falling victim to suspects impersonating legitimate travel companies, including clone comparison websites, airline websites and holiday accommodation websites.
In some cases, victims have searched for flight tickets online and have found a website they believe to be the company’s genuine website. In other cases, victims reported responding to an approach or advertisement on social media or using what they believed to be legitimate flight comparison websites to search for flights.
In both instances, victims reported being contacted by someone purporting to be from the airline, or flight comparison website, to take them through the booking procedure and take payment.
The fraudster may completely end contact after receiving payment or provide the victim with fake booking information.
Sadly, some victims have only become aware that they have been the victim of fraud when they arrive at the airport and are unable to check-in.