Britons issued travel scam warning as victims swindled out of almost £800 - holidaymakers told to beware of 'fake' flights

Man disappointed at airport / Plane wing

Britons have been told how to avoid falling victim to a travel scam

Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 11/04/2024

- 00:01

Updated: 11/04/2024

- 09:41

People aged between 35 and 44 make up more than a quarter of travel scam victims

Going abroad should be a stress-free experience. However, many holidaymakers are finding themselves scammed out of their hard-earned cash in the process of booking a trip.

According to data from Lloyds Bank, victims of holiday scams are losing £765 on average.

Plane tickets are the most common "fake" item sold relating to holidays.

Britons have been warned that fraudsters use social media as well as booking websites to try to swindle holidaymakers.


Plane tickets are the most common fake item sold relating to holidays


The bank suggested that increased flight costs post-pandemic have led holidaymakers to turn to social media and lesser-known websites in search of cheaper deals.

Scammers typically create fake adverts for cheap flight deals or lure victims by pretending to sell airline tickets they can no longer use themselves.

Lloyds warned that fraudsters will offer a low price and ask for a fee to change the name on the ticket.

When the victim has sent the money, the scammer will disappear, leaving the victim without a ticket and out of pocket.

Lloyds found that people aged between 35 and 44 are most likely to fall victim to a scam, with this age group making up more than a quarter (27 per cent) of victims. This age group is often booking trips for their families.

After fake flights, the offer of caravans for sale is the next most commonly reported fake item relating to holidays.

Victims are offered a cheap price for a motorhome or static caravan, but may be looking at photos of a vehicle that has been copied from elsewhere online.

Scammers will also list fictional holiday rentals with doctored photos or images stolen from other listings.

They may catch holidaymakers out by taking a deposit through a legitimate website but then asking for further payments offline, for example by bank transfer. Once the payment has been given, the scammer disappears.

Fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank Liz Ziegler told Britons: "Always take the time to think about purchases you make online, and when in doubt, always book through a trusted retailer."

"When it comes to booking stays, always use your card and don’t be fooled by hosts asking you to ignore the website’s rules and transfer money directly to them."

Airbnb, which has teamed up with online safety experts Get Safe Online to help protect people, said it has safeguards in place to help protect stays booked on its website.

The website encourages holidaymakers to report suspicious websites or phishing emails to Airbnb for investigation. From here, they can be reported for further action.

General manager for the UK and Northern Europe, Airbnb, Amanda Cupples, said: "As people take advantage of the upcoming bank holidays, travellers should remain vigilant when browsing for their trips online and book directly with trusted providers.


Booking a holiday online

Britons have been advised to buy tickets and hotel stays from trusted retailers or directly from the airline or hotels


"We encourage all of our guests to book, communicate and pay for their stay on the Airbnb platform, where we have secure processes and support measures like AirCover in place to help keep our community safe."

Chief executive of Get Safe Online, Tony Neate, said: "Many of us book our holidays online, and it is so important that we can do so safely, securely and with confidence.

"Two top pieces of advice to remember when booking trips and travel online - if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is, and, if you’re booking with Airbnb, always stay on the platform when searching for a property and making payments."

Lloyds Bank's tips to stay safe from holiday scams

1. Buy tickets and hotel stays from trusted retailers or directly from the airline or hotels. Look for valid reviews on websites such as Tripadvisor.

2. Paying by card can give added protections if something goes wrong.

3. Pay through booking websites’ own systems. If you are booking a hotel through a third party and receive what looks to be a message from a hotel asking for more money after the original booking has been confirmed, do not pay this without contacting the website or the hotel directly. Ensure you use the contact details on their websites.

4. Be cautious on social media. If you are looking for a caravan or motorhome, always see the item in person before handing over money.

5. Be wary of a seller who is trying to rush or bombard you.

6. Be cautious about warnings from your bank. Your bank is likely to provide a warning when you set up a new payee or make an unusual payment. Make sure you heed any advice provided.

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