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Top Tips to Beat Travel Fraud & Scams

20 May 2013 09:26

Top Tips by Key Travel in response to recent reports of holiday scams involving flights, accommodation and religious pilgrimages.


The growth of online services which provide great convenience and choice are also an opportunity for those with less honourable objectives. Mark Pollard, Head of Operations, at Key Travel, talks about the increasing problem of fraud for travellers and gives some Top Tips.
He says: “Criminals are using the internet in even more sophisticated ways to conceal their real identity and de-fraud, often by impersonating legitimate businesses.

Professional travel bookers will be familiar with the benefits of using a travel agency to manage their business travel needs. They will also be aware of the need to assess risk and duty of care compliance prior to booking each trip.

Sadly though, many people do not exercise the same caution when booking their personal travel, and the general consumer rarely has this specialist knowledge at their fingertips.

Although the best advice is always to book through a reputable and well established company or travel agent, there are other measures that individuals can take to minimise the risks of becoming a victim of increasingly sophisticated travel fraud.

Who to book with:
When booking using a travel company, ensure that it is a member of a trade body such as ABTA, the Travel Association or the Air Travel Organisers Licensing, ATOL – and check their credentials.
If you decide to book independently you should exercise caution and establish exactly who you are dealing with, from booking agent to owner.

Leisure travellers are extremely price conscious and there are many late deals on offer. However, criminals often target those most vulnerable, with time-sensitive deals which urge or demand immediate booking. If it seems too good to be true, it possibly is – so it is wise to check it out first.
How to pay:
When paying for travel, avoid paying by cash or via a Money Transfer Agent like Western Union or Moneygram which are not intended for commercial payments.

If possible pay by credit card as the credit card company may protect against fraud.
Be aware:
Never respond directly to an email requesting payment directly into a bank account or asking for bank details as a guarantee/deposit to secure a reservation.
In sophisticated scams, fraudsters are known to intercept emails to travel suppliers and then contact the customer back impersonating the supplier, with a legitimate looking email requesting payment, sometimes containing some of the personal information gained from the interception.
If in any doubt, contact the supplier directly by sourcing their contact details from a trusted reference. They will advise on the legitimacy of the email and their secure payment options".

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