Almost a quarter of people have been targeted by holiday-related scams, according to new research from Lloyds Bank.
The data highlighted that one in eight have already handed money over to fraudsters, and with one in five adults yet to book their holiday this year, holiday scammers will be looking to cash in on the millions of holidaymakers looking to find a last-minute deal.
Lloyds Bank is urging people to pay by card to stay safe from scams and avoid sending money by bank transfer – one of the scammers’ key trademarks to trick people into handing over cash.
Identifying fake online holiday websites vs genuine companies is difficult for over half of people who admit they are unsure and do not know how to spot a dodgy site or mail.
As well as holiday scams, parcel delivery scams – where the fraudsters send a text or email phishing for people’s details – and fake adverts for goods mostly on social media are among the most common recent scams. The average amount people are losing to these types of scams is £288, but some victims have lost tens of thousands of pounds.
One of the tell-tale signs of a scam is being asked to pay for something by bank transfer, but fraudsters can also try and tell you that there are transactions on your card that you didn’t make and that you need to send your money to a different account.
Worryingly, nearly one in three people surveyed think that a bank transfer is a safe means of paying for goods and services online, suggesting why so many might be falling into the scam trap.
Philip Robinson, Retail Fraud Prevention Director, Lloyds Bank, said: "Fraudsters are poised to jump on any potential way to trick people into handing over money, and their latest attempts to cash in on victims include taking advantage of the changing travel restrictions as the summer holidays start.
“This could be advertising deals and accommodation on fake websites disguised as genuine companies or luring people in to buying non-existent items or package deals on social media.
“At the same time, they are still profiting from a favourite scam tactic – sending texts about deliveries or so-called account activity with phishing links to gather information and then contacting people pretending to be from their bank or another organisation.
“When you’re shopping online, the safest way is to pay by card. If a seller is insistent on receiving a payment by bank transfer or wants to avoid official payment mechanisms, this should be an immediate red flag.
“It’s also important to treat every email, message or call that you’re not expecting with caution and pay close attention to any warnings that may appear when banking online. Your bank or a genuine company will never ask you to move money to a different account and if anyone does, it’s definitely a scam no matter how genuine it may appear.”
Lloyds Bank’s tips to help avoid falling victim to scams
- The safest way to buy things or book things online is to pay by card because it offers much more consumer protection.
- If a seller tries to push you into paying for something by bank transfer, that can be a big red flag that it’s a scam – reputable holiday companies and rental sites like AirBnB only accept card and official payment providers (PayPal, Apple Pay)
- Don’t click on any link in a text or email that you’re not expecting. These can often be phishing for your details and are usually a scam.
- Fraudsters can easily fake websites and make documents look real to trick you into making payments for goods or booking holidays or accommodation – never be rushed in and take time to speak to a friend or family.