Has the cold and snowy weather got you dreaming of a sun drenched week on the beach?
If so, you might be on the lookout for a good deal. And whilst the rise of online letting marketplaces, such as Airbnb, and property rental websites can make things a lot simpler, they could also be leaving you open to being duped out of money.
Why? Because unfortunately holiday scams are on the rise, with 100 people a week being conned out of an average of £1,200 last year.1
The ways in which fraudsters are trying to dupe you are also changing. Tricks include people posing as property owners on genuine websites or setting up fake villa letting companies. And they’ll often offer eye-catching deals to try and tempt you in.
How can you protect yourself from potential scams?
Check the name
Many fraudsters will set up websites using a name that’s similar to a genuine holiday company. Make sure you double check online that it’s a legitimate company before booking anything. Check they’ve not just altered a genuine web address from co.uk to .org for example.
Speak to the owner or agent
If you’re booking a property or a villa through a site like Airbnb, it’s always a good idea to phone the owner or agent directly before you commit to a booking. You can ask them any questions you have and by talking to them, you’ll be more likely to be able to suss out if all is legitimate.
Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true
If you’re seeing an offer that’s costing a lot less than similar properties, or just seems a bit too good to be true, be a bit cautious and do some research. Often fraudsters posing as legitimate holiday companies will ask for quick payment to secure the deal too, so if you see this, make sure you check things out before you hand over any cash.
Check whether the website’s secure
Always keep an eye out in the address bar in your browser to see if you can see https. The ‘s’ here stands for secure and will show you it’s a legitimate site. Also, look to see if there’s a padlock when you’re taken through to the payment area, as it’ll show your card details are being sent securely.
Act fast if you think you’ve been defrauded
If you think that you’ve been a victim of fraud, you can limit the damage if you act fast. Let your bank know as soon as you can and keep an eye on your credit report. By checking your credit report you can see if there is any activity that doesn’t look quite right. Log in or sign up to Noddle to have a look now – your report is updated every 30 days so we recommend checking it once a month.
We hope you find these tips useful and manage to find yourself a great deal for your 2018 holiday!
1 Statistic taken from: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-5223561/Relax-guide-beat-holiday-boking-scams.html