Lloyds Bank is warning hopeful holidaymakers they could fall victim to a scam when booking a trip. These scams have risen 7% over the past year, with people losing £765 on average, with those aged 35 to 44 making up over a quarter of victims.

Facebook, including Facebook Marketplace, is the main hunting ground for fraudsters, with nearly half of holiday scams starting on the platform, but fraudsters are also using legitimate booking sites to draw victims in.
Lloyds Bank data shows flight tickets are the most common fake item sold relating to holidays. After the pandemic, there was an increase in the price of flights, which led people to turn to social media and lesser-known websites to look for cheaper deals.

Scammers will create fake ads for cheap flight deals or lure unsuspecting victims by pretending to sell airline tickets they can no longer use themselves. They will offer a low price and ask for a fee to change the name on the ticket. Once the money has been sent, the scammer will disappear, leaving the victim out of pocket and without a ticket.

Scams can take place on trusted websites

While most holiday scams start on Facebook, they can also happen through more trusted websites such as Airbnb and Booking.com.

Fraudsters sometimes start the scam using the website or app to list fictional rentals with fake photos or photos stolen from other listings. They may initially take a deposit through the site but will then ask for further payments offline through bank transfer or Paypal. Once they have received as much money as they can, they will disappear.

Fraudsters have also been able to compromise the Booking.com mobile app, using it to successfully message holiday makers, posing as a booked hotel. While pretending to be the hotel, the scammer will ask for a further payment, to be sent in a different way to the original booking, or for card, bank account or other personal information. It’s a sophisticated and layered scam, as it appears to be a message from the genuine hotel, sent through the actual Booking.com app.

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