5,826 travel fraud cases were reported in 2016, according to Action Fraud. This number only reflects cases that were actually reported, so this staggering figure could be much higher.
This figure represents a 20% increase in reported cases, with the average victim losing approximately £1,200. That adds up to a whopping £7.2 million in stolen money. Add to that the emotional and physical detriment to victims’ health and wellbeing, and the true cost of travel fraud starts to become horribly clear.
The City of London Police, ABTA, and Get Safe Online have noticed a trend in when the most travel fraud seems to occur. In December and during the summer, a spike in reports has been noticed, as these are the times most people start to plan their holidays. Victims are tricked into buying holidays that they believe to be at a fantastic price, only to later find that that holiday does not exist. In many cases, it is only once these poor holidaymakers arrive at their destination that they finally realise what has happened. This means they are left stranded in a foreign country with nowhere to stay.
Interestingly, those investigating travel fraud have found that the majority of victims tend to be in the 20-39 age group, with older travellers being much more savvy. With age comes wisdom – and knowing when an offer is too good to be true! It may also be a case of younger people having less to spend on holidays, and thus being more inclined to look for the very cheapest deal.
We share this news to alert you at this busy time of year, when you may be planning a break either at your timeshare resort or another location. It is strongly advised that you take precautions against travel fraud by ensuring you book directly with a hotel or airline or use a reputable agent. If you are a timeshare holder, then you will probably only be booking your flights or holiday transfers. Either way, you could fall victim to travel fraud unless you are careful.
Travel fraud may be on the increase, but there are also many cases of timeshare fraud cropping up, particularly during the peak holiday season. So if you are off on holiday soon, please take care to avoid timeshare presentations and stay away from pushy timeshare salespeople. If you happen to fall victim to their tactics whilst you’re away, be sure to take action as soon as you get back. As always, if you need assistance, we are here for you all the way.