Here’s some sound advice from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, in the run up to the summer holiday period.
People looking for cheap flight tickets are being targeted by fraudsters. New websites are continuously being created with slight changes to the company names with the intention to deceive the public.
They offer tickets at bargain prices and usually request for payment via bank transfer. These tickets do not materialize and the funds are retained by the fraudsters.
- Where possible, buy from well-known company names. If you’ve never heard of a company, conduct some due diligence.
- Use the internet. Type the name of the company/site you are buying from and look for reviews of what others customers are saying about the company. Bad customer service feedback usually finds their way online quite quickly.
- Use companies that are ATOL or ABTA Registered. You can check this here: http://abta.com/go-travel/before-you-travel/find-a-member or http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=490&pagetype=65&appid=2
- Check the authenticity of flight booking websites before making any reservations. A “whois” search on the website will identify when the website has been created, so be wary of newly formed domains. This search can be conducted using http://who.is
- Never send money to bank accounts. If possible pay using a credit card – that way you have some protection and avenue for recompense.
- Sign up to Action Fraud Alert https://www.actionfraudalert.co.uk/ to keep you updated with what’s going on.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.
Image courtesy of Yuichi Kosio at flickr.com