Holiday Buyers Told to Beware of Scams

Holiday buyers are being told to beware of scams that are coming to light as buyer trust in the travel industry is on a high.

A poll carried out by online directory, 192.com, which asked who shoppers trusted when making a transaction, has apparently revealed that travel agents are viewed as a safe pair of hands in financial dealings.

1,500 UK residents were questioned for the survey, and 39 percent of them said that they were comfortable with making payments to travel agents. This compared very favourably with car dealers who polled 11 percent, and estate agents who polled 15 percent. In the 45 to 54 age bracket, the trust in the travel industry rose still further with those polled, as 42 percent registered their faith in agents and hoteliers.

However, 192.com claim that fraudsters are cashing in on the public’s trust in the travel industry with a growing trend for selling fake holidays. 151 incidents of fraud involving airline tickets have been reported since the beginning of this year, with two thirds of them taking place between April and June, according to Action Fraud, a national fraud and online crime reporting centre.

Customers looking for an online bargain are thought to be particularly at risk, with fraudulent websites buying tickets on the customer’s behalf but cancelling them after payment has been made, buying tickets using a stolen credit card, or faking e-mailed tickets.

Holiday fraud is a phenomenon that is likely to be on the increase, as a Get Safe Online survey, backed by the UK government, discovered that a third of those booking holidays on line made no attempt to verify the credentials of the company that they were paying money to, making the industry a happy hunting ground for crooks and fraudsters.