Having read about so many scams on both TripAdvisor and Facebook I thought it worth sharing an extract of the information which Abta have published highlighting what to look out for.
The alert as the peak booking period gets underway follows an increase in fake websites, and online scams. With many summer holidays booked during January and February, ABTA says it is concerned that people looking for a bargain may be duped by fraudsters.
The association has compiled a list of warning signs to look out for:
Some websites are set up purely to defraud customers. On a legitimate website, there should be a locked padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register, or the web address should begin with ‘https://’.
These are websites that are copies of a genuine site with subtle changes made. Fraudsters can clone legitimate websites but will change the last part of the web address, such as from .co.uk to .org. They can also produce a realistic-looking website, but with the spelling of the address slightly different from that of the authentic site. Check that the website address that appears in the top window is correct. If you are suspicious of a website, carry out a web search to see if you can find out whether or not it is fraudulent.
Payment via bank transfers
Be suspicious when the only payment option is a bank transfer. Not only is this an indication that no bank is prepared to provide credit card facilities, but if you are dealing with a scammer it will be virtually impossible to get your money back.
Some fraudulent companies may falsely use logos of official bodies such as Atol, or of organisations such as Abta and Iata. If the company you are using claims to be a member of a trade association, you should be able to easily verify membership on the trade association’s website
Businesses not providing financial protection
In 2016 more than 100 travel businesses were identified by Abta as selling package holidays without having proper financial protection in place, and referred to the relevant authorities. All package holidays sold in the UK should include protection, where holidaymakers are not only entitled to a refund or repatriation, should their travel company go out of business, but also other specific legal rights, should there be a problem with the holiday. People booking a holiday that is Atol protected should always receive an Atol Certificate.