It is now one of the busiest periods for people booking holidays at the last minute, but those seeking to book their vacation online should be wary, travel industry experts warn.
Experts at Travel Association ABTA and GetSafeOnline.org are warning that Brits booking last minute holidays online are ignoring basic online fraud prevention measures in their scramble to finds the best vacation deals.
This makes people more likely to be caught in bogus holiday scams or even risk losing their hard earned cash to web based fraudsters. Holiday makers should also ensure that they find the best travel insurance deals too.
In the research published by ABTA and GetSafeONline, 30% of Internet users booking their holiday online did not check the authenticity of travel providers before handing over their credit card details. One in four booking their holidays via the web also did not check that the web page booking forms were using secure https protocols to keep their details safe from prying eyes.
Such measures become even more critical when consumers begin hunting for ‘almost too good to be true’ deals via the web, leading many to opt for unknown or unrecommended providers.
Commenting on these findings, Security Minister, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, said: “Many people will be looking for last-minute holidays at this time of year and the Internet can provide a great way of shopping around for bargains. However, in your rush to book a holiday you should make sure you are not falling victim to online crime by taking some basic steps to protect yourself. Get Safe Online.org provides trustworthy advice and information on online fraud and scams as well as how to ensure you have the right kinds of protection on your computer”.
Often when the deal looks too good to be true, then something may be amiss warns Tony Neate, managing director of GetSafeOnline.org:
“When things don’t start to add up, that’s when you really need to do your research. For example, if you decide to rent a villa or holiday home from an individual and they don’t provide a contact telephone number or don’t respond to calls, and they ask for full payment upfront to be made by a cheque in the post or wire transfer, then you need to be very careful. For private rentals, this may be the only way they can take payment, but it does make them almost impossible to track,”