UK’s Lloyds Bank Issues Warning About Rise in Fraudulent Activities During Summer Holidays

With summer fast approaching, Lloyds Bank is warning hopeful holidaymakers they could fall victim to a scam when booking a trip.

These scams have reportedly “risen 7% over the past year, with people losing £765 on average, with those aged 35 to 44 – often booking trips for their families – making up over a quarter of victims (27%).”

Facebook, including Facebook Marketplace, is “the main hunting ground for fraudsters, with nearly half of holiday scams starting on the platform (49%), 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.”

It’s not just those hoping to catch sun abroad “falling victim to these scams, as the second most commonly reported holiday scam is the purchase of caravans.”

Those hoping to staycation in their own motorhome or static caravan “are ensnared by a cheap price, but unfortunately are looking at photos of a vehicle that has been taken from Google images or another advert.”

While most holiday scams start on Facebook (including Marketplace), 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.”

In many cases, victims don’t realize they’ve “been scammed until much later. Booking what they believe to be a legitimate holiday rental, victims arrive with their suitcases, only to find the address their host has given them is fake or the house they think they’ve rented, is actually home to someone else.”

Liz Ziegler, Fraud Prevention Director at Lloyds Bank, said:

“Most of us spend January and February counting down the days until summer, excited for an eagerly awaited holiday. Fraudsters, on the other hand, don’t need a countdown, as they are always on the lookout for ways to take advantage of those looking for a good deal to get away. Whilst legitimate cheap flights and beautiful holiday homes are definitely out there, it’s important people take steps to ensure they are purchasing something that is real. For example, Facebook Marketplace is probably not the best place to find flights for your next holiday. And often, when things seem too good to be true, it’s because they are.”

As noted in the update:

“Always take the time to think about purchases you make online, and when in doubt, always book through a trusted retailer. When it comes to booking stays, always use your card and don’t be fooled by hosts asking you to ignore the websites rules and transfer money directly to them.”


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