Important advice for holidaymakers

Stock picture.
Stock picture.

Holidaymakers are losing an average of £1,200 to holiday fraud, according to Action Fraud.

And more than a quarter - 26 per cent - of victims say that the fraud had also had a significant impact on their health or financial well-being.

Most worryingly of all, 259 people of the 5,826 cases reported said the impact on them was severe, meaning that they had to receive medical treatment or were at risk of bankruptcy.

The most common types of holiday fraud relate to the sale of airline tickets, booking accommodation online as well as timeshare sales.

Top tips to avoid becoming a travel fraud victim

Stay safe online

Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name - such as going from .co.uk to .org

Do your research

Don't just rely on one review - do a thorough online search to check the company's credentials. If a company is defrauding people there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences and warnings about it

Look for the logo

Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. If you have any doubts, you can verify membership of ABTA at www.abta.com

Pay safe

Never pay directly into a private individual's bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash - the money is very difficult to trace and is not refundable. Wherever possible, pay by credit card or a debit card

Check paperwork

You should study receipts, invoices as well as terms and conditions. Be very wary of any companies that don't provide any at all. When booking through a holiday club or timeshare, get the contract thoroughly vetted by a solicitor before signing up

Use your instincts

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is