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We all love to take some time to get away from our busy lives, and planning a holiday has never been easier. Unfortunately, fraudsters can create convincing looking scam websites or fake profiles on accommodation booking websites. Social media pages and advertisements are also increasingly being used for holiday scams which have their own risks. Luckily, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself so you can still get that break you deserve.

Use reputable and official booking websites

Avoid social media (e.g Facebook) group pages and advertisements. If you do go through a social media page make sure you can confirm that the person or company you are talking to is legitimate. If you see a post for a holiday you would like more information about posted by a travel agent, take a note of the details and go and see them in your nearest branch, to confirm the holiday is real.

Check the website address - HTTP or HTTPS?

There are two common transmission protocols for use over the internet; HTTP and HTTPS. While they both send and receive data over a network, HTTPS makes sure data is encrypted, and therefore cannot be understood if intercepted in a Man-in-the-middle attack. If you are booking your holiday online, ensure the website is secure and encrypting all of your data.

Make sure that the URL contains 'HTTPS' and keep an eye out for the lock symbol in the address bar.

Take care when booking on the Hotel's official website

If the hotel is not familiar to you, or not part of hotel-chain, take extra care when making bookings. It is safer to make bookings on a reputable third-party website (regardless of any additional perks you may get) as this avoids the possibility of the hotel's website being insecure.

Does the booking price seem too good to be true?

When looking for reservations, check whether the price for the flight or holiday is a lot cheaper than the prices shown elsewhere. If so, you should be suspicious, and especially with the flight prices because these are mostly set by the airline. We all want to save money where we can, but it's better to pay a little more through a reputable site than to lose all of your booking through a scam.

Look for the ABTA and ATOL Logos

When booking through a UK travel agent, check that they have the ABTA and/or ATOL logos. You can use their respective member search facilities to identify if a booking agent is legitimate. Other countries may have their own alternative authorities. 

Customers based in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey are not covered by ABTA and ATOL, however these logos are good to look for when considering the trustworthiness of the holiday or travel agent.

Credit Cards and Payment Gateways

Any request for payment through bank transfer should raise alarm bells. Bank transfers are difficult to trace and are typically non-refundable. Payments by credit card are the safest option, as certain protections are in place to recover any funds lost through fraud. Likewise, payment gateways such as PayPal offer additional protections. 

Downloadable documents

Holiday Scam Guidance Poster


This page was last updated on 29/04/2024.