Holiday Fraud – Be Careful of These Scams!

Last Update: February 7, 2021 Fraud Identity Theft Scams

While you and your family are gearing up for the year-end holiday season, you skip criminals, but they are all around. Consumers are encouraged to be extra vigilant at this time when the scammers send out an avalanche of fake online adverts, bogus sales calls, e-mails, and SMS, to suck you into their criminal schemes and ruin what is meant to be a happy time of rest and enjoyment.

What is Holiday Fraud?

Holiday fraud happens when you hand over your money to a travel agent, a booking website, or a booking with an individual, only to discover that your holiday does not exist and your money has gone. People carrying out this type of fraud usually ask that you pay for your holiday by bank transfer or cash into an easily emptied account and is difficult to trace.

You may also be issued with authentic-looking bogus receipts, which will be absolutely useless when you try to investigate the payment of your non-existent holiday. There will be no recourse to any refund, and to realize that you have been conned before you even pack for your trip, or even worse, to find out when you arrive at a destination that there has never been a booking, will be devastating.

Paying for a holiday, travel or accommodation, via direct bank deposit or a cash deposit can sometimes put you at risk. Entering your bank details on an unsafe page, responding to phone calls, e-mails or SMS, offering holidays for super low prices puts you at huge risk.

How to Help Protect Yourself?

Many legitimate travel companies provide excellent service, combined with competitive accommodation and travel costs. They can help you have a great time on your desired holiday. And finding them is easy. Here are a few basic tips on how to recognize scammers.

  • If you do not know the travel company you want to book a holiday with, do some research online to ensure that they are reputable. You should also check whether the company is licensed.
  • Never respond to unsolicited e-mails or phone calls making holiday offers.
  • Do not click on any links in e-mails and SMS. Don’t open any attached files from your PC from unknown senders. Actually, be cautious also from known senders. It’s not hard for fraudsters to fake the sender.
  • If possible, always pay for holidays with a credit card, and do not give your personal bank details to anyone on the web. Payment with a card at least offers some protection, as it takes time to clear, and if you suspect fraud, you may be able to stop the transaction.
  • Always be aware that fraudulent adverts and fake websites do exist. It may look fantastic enough for the holiday of a lifetime, but if you have any doubts, don’t book it!

How to Stay Safe when Booking Online?

  • The safest way to avoid booking scams is to directly book from the hotel or via a reputable travel company.
  • If you use a travel company, ensure that they are legitimate and well-known.
  • Check the hotel online to ensure that it actually exists.
  • If you are dealing directly with the property owner, get details about the property and the area where it is situated. Even owners can be sneaky, and if you have done the research, you should confirm the details given to you.
  • When paying for accommodation, don’t use money transfers like Western Union or MoneyGram. This type of payment is not meant for commercial payment. Use your credit card, as this may help to protect your payment if any fraud is perpetrated.
  • If the only payment option is a bank transfer, this could indicate a possible scam.
  • Check the terms and conditions so you know exactly what you pay for.
  • Check the paperwork for accuracy, and don’t deal with a company or person who says that paperwork is not provided.
  • Before you travel, always check your booking and travel arrangements. It will be too late if you arrive at the airport and find there are no tickets booked, or get to your destination and find no record of any booking. Fraudsters can manufacture genuine-looking airline tickets and copies of accommodation booking receipts.

Bear in mind that a travel agent, or even an individual owner of a property that you are enquiringly about, does not need your Social Security Number, date of birth, or ID number. If you are asked for this information, it is almost certainly a scam and just another ruse to get details so that your identity can be stolen.


Identity theft protection experts warn consumers about the increase in fraudulent activities with the approach of peak holiday periods. According to a report, people often get scammed from fake websites, fake online ads,  fake airline bookings.

It may seem like a lot of effort to check everything thoroughly, but it will be worth it in the long run. Many families pay only for accommodation to find out that they have been scammed and that holiday dreams have been shattered.

It really means that if the family is determined to have a holiday, you will have to find somewhere else to stay.

Unfortunately, there are not many families who can afford it – or may be willing to do this!



Recommended Articles


IRS Tax Fraud and ID Theft

EPF February 19, 2019

Identity Theft and Scam Trends in 2019

EPF February 15, 2019