Booking a vacation should be an exciting experience; however it can be ruined by clever and unscrupulous scams because it means browsing through hundreds of travel websites to get that cheapest fare. But on digging a little deeper, you will realize that it is also a time to look out for travel scams. As the holidays bring the uptick in the purchasing cheap holidays and great deals, the risk of online scams and fraud rises as well.
The leading travel association ABTA is trying to make the travelers more aware against the online travel scams and about the risks of booking a holiday with a fraud company. Last year, according to a survey, around 6,000 unsuspecting people, fell victim to the fake companies and travel websites along with non-compliant travel agencies that offer no financial protection in place.
Fraudsters stole a whopping amount of millions lost per person. Although booking through travel agencies is the feasible option staying aware is the best precaution. Here is the list of few simple hacks to help you avoid scams:
- Enquire About the Financial Protection
Last year, more than 100 travel agencies were identified by the ABTA who were selling holiday packages without offering any proper financial protection in place to the customers. The travelers should know that all the holiday packages in the UK should include financial protection and the customers are not only entitled to a refund but also some other specific legal rights. People who are booking holiday packages that are ATOL protected should always receive an ATOL certificate.
- Beware of Scam Websites
Fake or scam travelling websites are mainly set up purely to defraud customers and with growing technology, the number of these fraudulent websites and scams are increasing day after day. Therefore in order to differentiate between a fake and a genuine website, always look up for the 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://’. This will not only ensure that you are dealing with a genuine website but will also ensure you are falling victim to any scam.
- Cloned Websites
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.
- False Credentials
Some fraudulent companies may falsely use logos of official bodies such as ATOL, or of organizations 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.
Thus be aware and do not get carries away by the lucrative deals and offers that you find across the web. Not all websites and travel agencies are established to con you, but it is always better to stay aware and cautious when it comes to booking holiday packages. To find more tips, visit www.smartflyer.co.uk.