192.com, the background checking website, has warned of fraudsters who are selling fake holidays. This warning came just as Action Fraud reported over 150 frauds which involved airline tickets since January 2012. More than 100 of these happened between April and June this year.
The scam consists of fraudulent websites who claim to be authorised ticket agents for airlines promising cheap deals. The fraudsters then buy tickets on behalf of the consumer and cancel them when they have been issued by the airline.
A fraudster can also buy a legitimate e-ticket and sell copies to numerous buyers; fake e-mail tickets and buy tickets using credit card details acquired fraudulently. Holiday fraud could also involve the sale of fictitious vacations, using low prices to tempt victims. The holiday either does not exist at all, or the client only gets a part of what has been purchased.
People who seek online bargains are particularly vulnerable. A survey by ‘Get Safe Online’ found that almost a third of web users who book holidays on line do not check that the travel provider is authentic before paying them. An Age UK study in 2011 found that older people are more susceptible to being victims of timeshare investments or holiday club fraud with 17% of all timeshare scam victims between the ages of 70 and 79 years old.
Product director of 192.com, Dominic Blackburn, advises people not to assume that an advert is genuine even if the website is. People should research the hotel or apartment that they are booking, verifying the address through online maps and web searches. Check that the images of the location online match those on the advert. Also check out the person selling the holiday. 192.com has electoral roll records so you can match an address to the name.