In the lead up to the half term holidays 110 reports had been received by Action Fraud UK involving losses of £98,043, through fraudsters attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad.
Victims are being cold called by fraudsters purporting to be travel companies. However fraudsters in these cases are using new tactics to gain the victim’s trust. Intelligence suggests they appear to know that the victim has recently been searching to book flights online. It is suspected that this is because the victim has provided their contact details when making a search for flights on a bogus website which records their personal details. Once contacted, the victim wrongly believes the call to be genuine and a deliberately low quote for the desired flights tempts many victims into making payment.
After having made a payment for flights as a result of the call, victims have reported receiving a confirmation email but further enquiries with the airline have revealed their booking does not exist. When victims have attempted to re-contact the suspect they have found that all contact has been severed.
Action Fraud is urging people to be wary of unsolicited calls, emails and texts offering questionably good deals on flights. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you’re purchasing tickets from a company you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, such as searching the company’s name on the ABTA and ATOL databases. You can also ask friends or family for advice before you make a purchase.
Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer as it offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or payment services such as PayPal.
Never reveal any personal or financial details as a result of an unsolicited call, email or text. Even if someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine.