Thousands of people in the UK fall victim to holiday fraud every year – many paying for non-existent accommodation, flights or entire holidays.
To help tackle the issue Cheshire Constabulary is supporting Get Safe Online’s #SafeBreaks which runs throughout April.
Detective Sergeant Chris Maddocks said: “Whether it’s a short trip away or the annual family holiday more and more people are now making their bookings online.
“While it might be tempting to go online to find the cheapest price, it’s important that people do their research and check that what they are booking is being advertised legitimately and through an authorised company.”
As part of the #SafeBreaks campaign Get Safe online have issued the following simple tips that everyone can follow to help minimise their chances of falling victim to a fraudster:
- Never pay for holiday accommodation, travel or package holidays by bank transfer - you could be waving goodbye to your holiday/flight and your money
- Wherever possible, book holidays and travel through members of recognised trade associations like ABTA or ATOL.
- Pay for holidays or travel by credit card - this means you’ve got more chance of getting your money back if something goes wrong
- Thoroughly research your accommodation (apartments, villas, ski lodges, caravans), flights, cruises or package holidays to check it exists and is being advertised legitimately
- Have you seen a holiday that seems just too cheap to be true, or needs you to pay an unusually large deposit? It might be a scam, so check our expert advice before booking www.getsafeonline.org/booksafe
David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, added: “We have recently seen an increase in crimes committed online, with cybercrime now accounting for more than half of all crimes committed each day.
“That’s why as Police and Crime Commissioner I am committed to tackling cybercrime and supporting victims. I am pleased to have allocated funding in this year’s budget to establish a dedicated cybercrime support team within every local policing unit throughout Cheshire.
“This dedicated resource will tackle cybercrime head-on and proactively raise awareness of the dangers of cybercrime in our communities.”
Anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of holiday fraud, of any other fraud, is urged to report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.