Following a year of travel bans, quarantine, uncertainty and missed holidays, many of us are desperate to get away for a break, whether it’s a holiday in the sun or a weekend by the sea in the UK. You may be taking the plunge and booking right now, or waiting cautiously until the travel situation becomes clearer.
Or you may be booking travel and accommodation for that face-to-face meeting you’ve yearned for every time you go on a video call.
But cybercriminals are busy thinking about holidays and travel too … not taking them but exploiting your desperation for a break, with fake websites, advertisements, emails, social media posts, texts and phone calls for holidays, flights, accommodation or pilgrimages that don’t exist.
Avoid disappointment and financial losses: start by reading Get Safe Online’s expert tips on searching and booking holidays, and travel safely and securely.
Top tips to ensure your holiday or travel booking is safe
- Do thorough research on accommodation, flights, cruises, package holidays or pilgrimages advertised via private advertisements, to check they’re authentic.
- Check that accommodation really exists by finding it on Google Maps and looking for independent reviews and recommendations. If you can, call and speak to the owner/agent directly. If the number is not provided, email and request it.
- Check reviews on TripAdvisor or similar sites.
- Never pay for holidays or travel by bank transfer. If you do and it’s a fraud, you may never see your money again. Paying by credit card means more chance of getting your money back if something goes wrong.
- Make sure travel agents and tour operators you book through are members of trade associations such as ABTA or ATOL, by checking on these bodies’ websites.
For the full story, visit www.getsafeonline.org, select ‘Protecting Yourself’ and then ‘Holiday & Travel Booking’.
Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of information and advice on online safety and security, for the public and small businesses. It is a not-for-profit, public/private sector partnership backed by law enforcement agencies and leading organisations in internet security, banking and retail.
For more information and expert, easy-to-follow, impartial advice on safeguarding yourself, your family, finances, devices and workplace, visit www.getsafeonline.org.
If you think you’ve been a victim of online fraud, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre on 0300 123 20 40 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.