More than 5,000 people were victims of holiday booking fraud last year, their total losses amounting to seven million pounds. Airline and online accommodation were the main targets (see ABTA report)
How it works
- A Kent family booked a villa in Mallorca with a company that also arranged transfers.
- Alarm bells rang when no transfer driver was waiting for them at Palma airport.
- They eventually took a taxi to “their” villa to find out that the property owner did not rent out his home and had no knowledge of their “booking”.
- The family eventually found another villa to rent but were now £8000 out of pocket.
- The family’s bank is trying to retrieve the money from the fraudster’s Spanish bank based in Madrid but there is no guarantee of success.
To help protect yourself:
- Check customer reviews – review and research thoroughly.
- Look out for companies that are members of professional bodies such as ABTA.
- Be wary of paying a private individual by bank transfer.
- Paying by credit card will offer you much more protection from fraud.
- Trust your instincts, don’t get rushed into making impulsive decisions.
Kent County Council is currently running a campaign in the Folkestone area in the Tesco Bags for Life to help protect vulnerable people from telephone scammers by installing a TrueCall phone blocker at their home. Please support our project if you can.
For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact
Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.