As we enter the New Year many of us are now planning and arranging our summer holidays. More than ever we now need to be aware of internet enabled theft and fraud and criminals are targeting the holiday business. This can include paying for flight tickets that never arrive. Fake websites and email offers for holidays or villas that do not exist. They require you to pay a deposit, which you never see again.

We need to be aware of these scams and ensure we book and pay for our holidays secure in the knowledge that when we arrive we do actually have a holiday. Our Community Safety team have put together some handy tips to make sure you book safely:

  • Ensure that any holiday or travel company unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them online. Ensure that they are a member of a recognised travel authority which offers financial protection and a complaints service.
  • When possible, pay for holidays and travel using your credit card as this offers additional financial protection over other methods.
  • Double check all details such as travel dates, itineraries, destinations and travellers before confirming payment, as you may be charged for amendments.
  • Take out travel insurance adequate for your destination, activities and everyone in your party.
  • Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise. They may be hacking and looking to commit fraud
  • If renting a private apartment or villa, call the owner/agent directly to ensure that it is legitimate. If the number is not provided, email and request it. Check reviews on TripAdvisor or similar sites.
  • Get the full address of the property and find it on Google maps to check its location and legitimacy.
  • Prior to payment, obtain a contract setting out terms and conditions of the rental, deposits, payment terms etc.
  • Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure.
  • When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.

For more information about staying safe online visit our ‘Holiday Scams’ webpages.