Watch Out for Holiday Frauds

You have to feel sorry for the victims of fraud that wrongly presumed they were buying genuine holidays through online websites Rightski.com and ChaletHunter.com during the latter months of 2015. False chalet scams were widely reported to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) as 2015 drew to a close, with many unwitting victims falling foul to fraudsters who set up fake websites on the internet, using bogus details and counterfeit information.  

Early warnings of this criminal activity went viral over the holidays, and an estimated £60,000 was stolen from victims, many of which transferred money directly via bank transfers, with little chance of this being recovered.  

Travel advice sites such as money.aol.com and thisismoney.co.uk were quick to report the scams and local newspapers such as the Burton Mail are advising residents to take special care when booking a holiday online this year.  

How were people duped into paying for scam holidays?

All of the victims viewed and paid for the bogus holidays through what they believed were official ski chalet websites. The unofficial websites were easy to set up, seemed genuine enough and they actually advertised real chalets under fake names, without the prior knowledge or consent of their original owners.

People were duped, wrongly believing they were paying for holidays of a lifetime, when in fact, all they had left to show for their online transactions was a depleted bank account.

Reports so far would suggest that over a dozen victims have contacted the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, and the NFIB are urging anyone who believes they have been a victim of this crime to come forward and report it as soon as possible.  

Ways to Avoid Booking a Fraudulent Holiday

As we head into the early parts of 2016 a growing number of people will be looking forward to booking summer breaks, some will want to get away earlier and they’ll be scouring the internet looking for great deals online right now.

This is fine as long as certain precautions are taken when using online resources, care should be made when booking through websites to prove the deals are genuine and to prevent fraudulent activities, such as advertising holiday chalets that don’t exist!  

Be extra vigilant when booking your vacation this year, the NFIB has now suspended activity on both the Rightski.com and ChaletHunter.com websites and taken down each of their phone lines, but other seemingly genuine websites are just as easy to establish, ready to rip the unsuspecting public off.      

Do this to stay safe when booking a holiday online:

  • Check the web address – Make sure this is a genuine domain name backed by .co.uk etc and it doesn’t revert to .org or something similar when you click to complete a transaction.

  • Look for reviews – Can you find anything online that supports the credibility of the company? Search for reviews on established travel websites left by genuine customers

  • Are they a member of a trade association? - Is the company backed by a professional trade body like ABTA for instance? If not, you might be taking a risk.

  • Pay by Credit Card – If possible, use credit cards to pay for your holiday, you’ll have more of a comeback if anything goes wrong this way.

  • Use common sense – The chances are if the deal seems too good to be true it will be. You’ll have a good idea of the prices of accommodation, flights etc to your chosen holiday destination, so be extra wary of a deal that’s much cheaper than you’ve seen elsewhere.

Fraud can affect you in all walks of life. Whether you have been the victim of workplace scams, telephone fraud, or bogus internet transactions, you have to be extra vigilant to safeguard against this type of criminal activity.   

Here at Focus Training we specialise in effective fraud awareness tuition, keep reading our blogs and to book any of our intelligence analysis, investigation or specialist fraud courses, please call us on 0870 919 4745. 


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