Rise In Online Travel Fraud

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Fraud is a reality! Be hyper-vigilant when booking your next holiday online and be sure to follow the basic checks designed to protect you from falling victim to a fraud.

A recent interesting study conducted by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau showed £11,5m (R236m) was lost to travel fraudsters in 2015, as compared to £2,2m (R45m) in 2014. Yes, the report reflects figures in the UK, but these also highlight a growing global trend.

The Report Shows:

  • The most common fraud type relates to the sale of airline tickets.
  • There has also been a large increase in the number of owner accounts being hacked into on popular sharing accommodation websites.
  • Losses to the individual can be substantial, with the average loss being almost £3,000 (R61 771).
  • Losses are not just financial, with almost half of victims (44 percent) saying that the fraud had also had a significant impact on their health.
  • The age group most commonly targeted is those aged 30 to 49, many of whom have young families.
  • The majority of those who are defrauded pay by methods such as bank transfer or cash, with no means of getting their money back.

Types Of Travel Booking Fraud

  1. Holiday accommodation

Fraudsters make full use of the Internet to con holidaymakers by setting up fake websites, hacking into legitimate accounts and posting fake adverts on websites and social media.

  1. Airline tickets

Where a customer believes they are booking a flight and receives a fake ticket or pays for a ticket that never turns up. In 2015, flights to Nigeria, India and Pakistan were particularly targeted, suggesting that fraudsters are going after people planning to visit friends and family.

  1. Sports and religious trips

A popular target for fraud due to limited availability of tickets and consequently higher prices. It is anticipated that in 2016, both the European Football Championships in France and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will attract fraudsters.

  1. Timeshares and holiday clubs

The sums involved with this form of fraud are particularly high, with victims losing between £9,000 (R185 314) and £35,000 (R720 668) each, accounting for 26 percent of the total reported amounts lost.

Compiled by: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: ASATA.

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Bewitched by the magic of France, Melissa Jane Cook is an intrepid explorer. A lover of traversing the globe, she eagerly absorbs different cultures and laps up the magnificent oceanic experiences. Wooed by words and writers alike, her penchant for facials, chocolate, owls and bugs, is surpassed only by her fascination with the stage aglow in lights or bookshelves that heave with stories, where characters invite her along on their marvellous journeys.

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