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Don’t lose out before flying out: Action Fraud urge holiday makers to watch out for fraudsters online

Date posted: 26.02.2024

Sun seekers looking to book their summer getaway are being warned to look out for fraudulent deals, as new data released today shows victims lost a staggering £12.3 million to holiday fraud last year.

Graphic with a woman on her phone sitting on a beach chair with a suitcase next to her. Action Fraud, ABTA and ATOL logo in the top left hand corner. Graphic reads: Look for the logos You can check if a travel company is an ABTA member or an ATOL holder using these websites: and Book now #StopHolidayFraud
Look for the ATOL and ABTA logos before booking

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting service, has launched a holiday fraud campaign ahead of the summer months, urging holiday goers to play it safe online and do their research before booking their trip.

Last year, 6,640 reports of holiday fraud were made to Action Fraud and data shows July and August saw highest number of reports made, at 804 and 781 respectively.

Holiday makers lost a combined total of £ 12.3 million, meaning there was an average loss of £1,851 per victim.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“As people think ahead to book their holidays, understandably everyone is increasingly on the lookout for the best deals. With the cost-of-living crisis squeezing our finances, it’s easy to forget to stay vigilant against fraudsters offering cheaper deals and great prices that are too good to be true.

“We want to avoid people losing their hard-earned money and help raise awareness of the signs of holiday fraud. Before booking any trips or signing up to any deals, do your research and check for ABTA and ATOL logos before clicking the confirmation button. Remember: stay alert online and be wise to fraudsters.”

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said:

“Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target consumers, with a particular focus on destinations and times of year when demand is high and availability limited, as they know people will be looking for good deals. Victims will often only find out they have been defrauded just before they are due to travel, or even in a resort, when it can be very difficult to find a legitimate replacement leading to yet more cost and potential disappointment.

“One of the simplest ways to protect yourself when booking is to look for a company that is a member of ABTA when booking your holiday.”

Anna Bowles, Head of Consumers and Enforcement at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which runs the ATOL financial protection scheme, said:

“Our research shows almost three in five of us are planning to go overseas this summer and expect to spend thousands of pounds on these trips. Before booking your trip abroad make sure you are doing everything you can to thwart fraudsters.

“Some protective measures include visiting the website to check your package trip is financially protected by ATOL, pay by credit card if you can, and take out travel insurance as soon as you book.”

Holiday makers are encouraged to take precautions and do their research online to ensure holidays are booked safely, without a hitch. Remember, don’t get caught out and lose out.

Top tips to help prevent falling victim to holiday fraud:

  • Do your research: before committing and booking your dream holiday, make sure that you do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible.
  • Pay safely: use a credit card when shopping online, if you have one. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases.
  • Look for the logo: make sure they’re a licensed company and check that they are properly accredited. Look for an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) or a membership of ABTA, The Travel Association.
  • Stay safe online: use three random words to create a strong password for your email that’s different to all your other passwords. If a 2-step verification option is available, always set it.
    • Beware of suspicious messages: be cautious of unexpected emails or messages offering unrealistic holiday deals. If you receive a suspicious email, report it by forwarding it to [email protected]
    • Protect personal information: only fill in the mandatory details on a website when making a purchase. If possible, don’t create an account for the online store when making your payment.
  • Book with confidence: be sceptical of unrealistic holiday deals. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Exercise caution and research before making purchases.

For further tips from ATOL and ABTA, visit or

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you live in Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101.

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