Travel fraud on the rise again
Over £7 million was lost to travel fraudsters in 2018, according to a new report.
Crimes were reported by 5,000 people and just over half of the cases related to the sale of airline tickets.
Meanwhile, one in four crimes related to the sale of accommodation, said the report compiled by Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
The level of travel fraud has risen since 2017 when 4,382 victims reported losing £6.7 million, the first time the number dropped in six years.
In 2016 there were 5,826 cases and the total amount stolen was £7.2 million.
ABTA, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online unveiled the report today alongside advice about the dangers of holiday booking fraud.
ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “ABTA sees at first-hand the damage caused by travel fraudsters after customers find out their much anticipated holiday or trip to visit family and friends does not actually exist.
“The cost to victims is not just financial; this crime causes very real emotional distress. Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target destinations and times of year when demand is high and availability limited, as they know people will be looking for good deals.
“As victims often find out just before they travel or even in resort that they have been defrauded, it can then be very difficult and expensive to obtain a legitimate replacement booking compounding the financial costs and emotional distress suffered by victims.”
Commenting on the report, Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: “The sad reality is that as scammers get more sophisticated, many people are still falling victim, with increasing numbers of holidaymakers being left severely out of pocket.
“To show they are serious about winning the battle against fraudsters, the Government, police and banking industry must now work together to better protect victims of fraud and prevent these type of scams from occurring in the first place.”