Barclays issues warning to unsuspecting holidaymakers to better protect themselves against villa scams
Brits are at risk of losing thousands to villa scams this January, according to new data from Barclays. The data revealed that more than one in three (37%) reported villa scams results in losses between £1000 and £5000, with nearly three-quarters (73%) saving on average £1,274 throughout the year for their holiday.
To help holidaymakers stay safe this January, Barclays is issuing a new warning against the dangers of villa scams – where criminals hijack the details of overseas villas (or use fake details) to dupe unsuspecting tourists.
Research suggests that all consumers need to take greater care when booking accommodation online to help prevent them from losing their holiday fund. One in seven (14%) admitted they would still book their dream holiday accommodation despite knowing there is a risk of being scammed, and a quarter (26%) would be prepared to put themselves at risk just in hope of bagging a summer bargain. In addition, more than half (55%) would not be put off booking a holiday, even if it seemed ‘too good to be true’.
Barclays top tips for staying safe while booking holidays this January:
- Is the offer too good to be true?
Do your research. If a villa is advertised at half the going rate and has great availability in peak season when everywhere else is full, this should tell you something. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is
- Do an internet search on the location
If the villa in question appears to be advertised by other companies under another name, this may also be a warning sign. Be sure to do thorough research before making any booking
- Are they asking you to pay by transfer?
Scammers love bank transfers. The money goes straight from your account to theirs and then they take it straight out and it disappears. By the time you realize that something is wrong, they are long gone
- Look for companies that have a real location and real phone numbers
Be suspicious of businesses that will only communicate via email and mobile phones. It’s worth checking the address or even looking at the location through an online street map. Make sure you check that the travel agent and website is certified, and that your payment is going to the right people
- Before you commit to anything, stop and take time to think
If it is a legitimate company, five minutes isn’t going to make any difference – and it could save you thousands of pounds and untold heartache.