With online booking, the world is at your fingertips. But increasingly, we hear about people who have booked holidays, accommodation (in the UK or abroad) or flights and been defrauded out of their dreams and their money. Let’s have a look at how you can make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
Thoroughly research who you’re buying from and where you’re going. If it’s a travel agent or tour operator, is it ABTA or ATOL accredited? If it’s a private individual, check the accommodation exists, use Google maps and refer to Tripadvisor. If it’s a villa or apartment, try to speak to the actual owner so you know you’re not dealing with an impostor.
Make sure the website you’re using isn’t fake, including a clone of a reputable one and compare prices … is the deal you’re being offered too good to be true? Double check all details of your trip before confirming and paying, remembering to check the site is secure.
Remember not to pay for any holidays or travel by direct bank transfer, however desperate you are to get away. If it’s a scam, you won’t get your money back. Pay by credit card if you can, as you’ll have more chance of a refund if anything goes wrong. The peace of mind can be worth the surcharge. Also be wary of requests for you to send your passport to anyone claiming they can get you a visa, as it may be used to steal your identity.
Log out of the website when you’ve booked, rather than just closing the page, and as with other payments, keep receipts and confirmations and check these against your statements. Report actual or attempted fraud to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk
Watch this video to hear how a group of young students got scammed by a bogus tour operator:
Where should I get those tickets from?
The majority of us now book tickets to see our favourite band, show, sport, pastime or attraction on the internet, taking advantage of the speed, convenience and choice. Unfortunately, fraudsters are well aware of this, scamming people not only out of their money but also their day out. One in five people know someone who’s been a victim of a ticket scam. Follow our simple tips to ensure you don’t lose out to a scammer.
Only buy tickets from the venue box office, promoter or official agent. You could also consider using one of the reputable ticket exchange sites, which usually have some built-in financial protection for the buyer and seller. Don’t be tempted to buy tickets from an unknown individual or organisation however desperate you are to get hold of them. This includes people advertising or offering on forums and fanzines.
Double check all the details such as event, date and price before confirming and paying and remember to use secure payment methods, such as PayPal or card. When paying for the tickets do not use direct bank transfers. If it’s a scam, you won’t get your money back. As with other online payments log out of the website properly once you’ve made booked your booking and keep all receipts or confirmations.