Air fraud victims lose nearly £3,000 on average, bank warns

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Holidaymakers who fall victim to theft scams lose nearly £3,000 on average, and there has also been a surge in caravan holiday fraud, according to analysis by a customer data bank.

The volume of holiday booking scams has risen by a third (33%) in the past year, Lloyds Bank said.

The figures were based on analysis of scams reported to Lloyds.

The average amount lost to a theft scam was £2,955, with victims of package holiday scams losing an average of £2,342. Victims of hotel-related scams typically lost £1,231.

And with many people opting for UK-based stays over the past year, Lloyds said scams linked to people booking short stays in caravans have more than doubled (a 108% increase) over the past 12 months. The average amount lost was £374.

Many scams start with fake search engine or social media ads, Lloyds said.

Victims often click on a link that takes them to a website and think they are dealing with a legitimate company.

Some scammers lurk on real hosting sites, convincing victims to transfer money directly rather than through the official platform.

Liz Ziegler, director of fraud prevention at Lloyds Bank, said: “Now that most pandemic restrictions have ended, many of us will be looking forward to a more traditional summer holiday this year.

“But with soaring demand and rapidly rising prices, would-be holidaymakers can’t afford to let their guard down when looking for the best deals.

“Scammers are ready to take advantage of any last-minute surge in bookings, so it’s essential consumers know how to stay safe.

“Book directly with trusted sites or travel agencies, avoid following social media links and always pay by card for the greatest protection. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is almost certainly the case.

Here are some tips from Lloyds Bank to avoid scams during the holidays this summer:

– Fraudsters spread advertisements for fake holidays on social networks and on the Internet. They can also send an offer via email or SMS claiming to be from a real company. Often an offer will seem much cheaper than what you can find elsewhere.

– Make sure the deal is genuine. Consider booking a vacation with an Abta or Atol protected company.

– Take your time to ensure that an offer is genuine before choosing to buy.

– Protect the way you pay. Credit cards, for example, offer consumers additional protections in the event of a problem.

– If someone wants you to pay directly to a bank account or by bank transfer, this may be a sign of a possible scam.

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