Nationwide Building Society is warning Britons to be alert to the dangers posed by holiday scams.
Criminals target those booking vacations by placing false advertisements on holiday websites or pretending to be a booking legitimate company.
New analysis from the building society has revealed that 58 per cent of people do not know or are not sure how to check if a travel agent, tour operator or holiday booker is legitimate or not.
Some 32 percent of those polled by Nationwide said they would rush into booking a break without making a thorough check, leaving them exposed to scammers.
Britons are at risk of being scammed by criminals when booking holidays
The building society’s survey of 2,000 Britons found four in ten respondents view booking a holiday as a priority in January to either plan ahead of have something to look forward to.
This poll by Nationwide also found that booking agents, travel agents and airline websites are still the most popular places to shop around for a holiday.
Around on in seven of Britons polled said they search for holidays on social media, including Facebook Marketplace and Instagram, which leaves people more susceptible to scams.
As part of its efforts to remind people of the risk posed by holiday scams, the building society is encouraging any customers concerned about a purchase to use its Scam Checker Service before making any payment.
This is available in branch or by calling a 24/7 freephone number on 0800 030 4057. When a payment goes ahead and the customer is scammed, unless Nationwide told the customer not to proceed, they will be fully reimbursed.
Jim Winters, Nationwide’s director of Economic Crime, warned that holidaymakers need to act now as “January is primetime” for booking vacations.
He explained: “That age old adage of, ‘If it looks too good to be true, it probably is’ most certainly applies with holidays – do your research and if in doubt get support.
“Our Scam Checker Service is completely free and for the sake of a few minutes on the telephone it could mean you’re not getting conned out of your hard-earned money and deserved time away.”
January is a popular time to book hllidays
Furthermore, Nationwide shared some tips to customers as part of its warning over holiday booking scams. These include:
- Try to book direct with established hotels or ABTA or ATOL-protected companies.
- Only use secure payment methods. Don’t make bank transfers outside of a website.
- Beware of extremely cheap holiday offers. Take extra care with timeshare schemes.
- Research thoroughly before buying your holiday. Pay attention to the terms and conditions.