Derbyshire holidaymakers are being urged to take extra security steps to protect themselves against villa fraudsters this summer.
Derbyshire Constabulary has teamed up with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), City of London Police and Get Safe Online to warn residents about the dangers of holiday booking fraud.
Following a report from the City of London Police, it was revealed that scammers stole an estimated £2.2million from unsuspecting holidaymakers and other travellers in 2014, with one victim losing £62,000 to timeshare fraud.
According to the report the most common type of crime involved fraudsters hacking into people’s accounts on well-known accommodation sites such as airbnb.com and Homeaway.com or spoofing these websites with convincing bogus imitations.
Disappointed holidaymakers found the villas and apartments they thought they had booked and paid for were non-existent or had never been booked.
Detective Inspector Rob King, head of the Derbyshire Economic Crime Unit, said: “Families work hard to save up for their holiday and fraudsters are taking advantage of this by offering deals which seem too good to miss.
“The most common scams reported related to holiday accommodation, airline tickets and package holidays, particularly around group, sport and religious packages.
“Thankfully, by following some simple yet effective steps, you can enjoy your holiday without falling victim to holiday booking scams.
“Firstly, always do your research and check that the company and the website address you are using are legitimate and have not been altered, such as changing from .com to .org.
“Secondly, check whether the company you are using is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. This offers extra reassurance that the organisation is trustworthy.
“Finally, use your instincts. If the deal sounds too good to be true then it probably is so always take time to check the details of your holiday before booking.”
For more advice about fraud, visit HERE