Detectives are issuing advice to prevent residents in Derbyshire falling victim to holiday booking frauds as part of an initiative to Stamp out Fraud.
According to recent statistics from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) fraudsters stole an estimated £7million from travellers and holiday makers in 2013.
This sees victims being scammed by fraudulent advertisements of holiday villas and apartments, with some arriving at their destination to discover they had nowhere to stay and customers believing they are booking a flight and receives a fake ticket or pays for a ticket that never turns up.
Detective Inspector Rob King, Head of the Derbyshire Economic Crime Unit said: “Families work hard to save up for their holiday and fraudsters are taking advantage of this by offering deals that seem too good to miss, which last year cost victims an estimated £7million.
“The most common scams reported related to holiday accommodation, airline tickets and package holidays, particularly around group, sport and religious packages.
“Thankfully, by following some simple yet effective steps, you can enjoy your holiday without falling victim to holiday booking scams.
“Firstly, always do your research and check that the company and the website address that you are using are legitimate and have not been altered, such as changing from .com to .org.
“Secondly, check whether the company that you are using is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. This offers extra reassurance that the organisation is trustworthy.
“Finally, use your instincts, if the deal sounds too good to be true then it probably is, so always take the time to check the details of your holiday before booking.”
Other advice includes never paying directly into an owner’s bank account, instead use a credit card where possible, or a debit card that offers protection. Make sure that any receipts, invoices and terms and conditions are read carefully, and beware of any companies that don’t provide any at all.
For more advice around fraud, visit the dedicated dedicated Stamp out Fraud webpage at www.derbyshire.police.uk/stampoutfraud|
If you think that you have been a victim of fraud, contact the non-emergency number for Derbyshire police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.