Holiday scams

We all need to get away from time to time.

This guide can help you to book a break without falling for a scam.

You can find great holiday deals online. But the last thing you want is for it to turn into a nightmare.

Sites like Airbnb and Facebook may offer some great places to rent. But fraudsters can use these sites to trick you into booking rentals that don’t exist.

We’ve put together some simple rules to help keep you safe from this kind of scam.

Tips to avoid holiday scams

  • Book a holiday with a company that is ABTA or ABTOL protected.

    Take your time to make sure an offer is genuine before you choose to buy. If a price is a lot lower than other companies, it might be a scam.

    Look for reviews from different customers. Find a company that has lots of good reviews rather than bad or no reviews at all.

    Use the ABTA website to:

    • make sure a holiday company is genuine, or
    • to go directly to a company’s website.

    That way you know a site is real and not fake.

  • When you visit a site, makes sure the pages look right. If the colours and logo look different in any way, it may be a fake site.

    Fake sites often spell words differently to trick you into thinking you’re on a well-known website. So check how a site spell things like the site address, as it may use a name like Lioyds and not Lloyds.

  • Fraudsters can send an offer by email or text pretending to be from a real company.

    The message may want you to click on a link but it could lead to a fake website, or put a virus on your device.

    Never click on a link unless you’re sure it’s safe.

  • The safest way to pay for a holiday is to use your debit or credit card.

    If a site or company wants you to pay another way, such as direct to a bank account or by wire transfer, it could be a scam. If you pay this way and things go wrong, you may not get your money back.

Tips to avoid home rental scams

  • Booking sites have safe ways for you to pay for a rental.

    Fraudsters may ask you to leave a site to pay direct to a bank account or by wire transfer. These are hard to trace. If you pay this way and it’s a scam, you may not get your money back.

    Only pay on the booking site where you find a deal.

  • It could be a scam if the property is really nice but the price is much lower than other similar places.

    Make sure a deal is genuine before you pay.

    Ask lots of questions and look at reviews. Lots of good reviews from different buyers are better than mixed, bad or no reviews at all.

Think you've fallen for a scam?

You should contact us right away if you think you've been scammed. We can then guide you on what to do next.

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Buyer Beware

  • Read all the details - Before you buy, read all the details about an item. Does it match what it says in the title and picture?
  • Be careful of free trials - If you agree to a free trial, check to make sure that you don't have to pay for it later on. Look for the terms that may be hidden in the small print.
  • Check the small print - Terms and conditions can be found in the small print. They should tell you about any hidden costs, as well as delivery and returns information.
  • Know where you're buying from - Check the location of a seller, especially if they're not well-known. It's easier to complain and get your money back from sellers that are based in the UK and EU.
  • Search for FAQs - Most online shops have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. This can help you quickly find key information.
  • Keep track of what you buy - Check your bank account often to make sure you know what all your payments are for. 

Unknown payments and disputes with a seller

If you don't get what you thought you were buying, it may not be fraud. The same can be said if you see a payment on your statement that you don’t recognise.

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