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The No Mile High Club: Customers stung by fake flight deals

Patrick Christys
Feb 15, 2019

Fraudsters are targeting people holidaymakers who are fed up with paying sky high costs to travel abroad.

For many people, their much-anticipated holiday never got off the ground because they were stung by fraudsters who promised them cheap deals that didn't exist.

Action Fraud has revealed that it received 110 reports dating since October with total losses so far amounting to £98,043.

The scam begins when victims are cold called by the con artists who pretend to be from travel companies. 

Worryingly, fraudsters seem to have access to people's personal details with intelligence suggesting they know the victim has recently been searching to book flights online.

Victims then book cheap deals that seem too good to be true (because they are!) and receive a confirmation email.

It's only when they contact their airline that they discover the flight in question doesn't actually exist.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud said: 'We see holiday and flight related frauds at peak times throughout the year, but this type of fraud is different.

'By contacting people who have recently searched for flights online, the fraudsters are able to gain the victim's trust much more quickly.

'It's essential that people check with ABTA and ATOL before using a flight ticket website or broker to make sure the site is legitimately authorised.'

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: 'Travellers are at risk from increasingly sophisticated attempts to sell them fraudulent flight tickets. 

'For those unlucky enough to fall victim to this malicious activity, it causes real financial and emotional distress, while also shattering their plans for a holiday or a visit to see family and friends.

'To protect yourself from fake flight tickets research the company you are booking with and if booking online to thoroughly check the web address to make sure it is legitimate.

'For further advice visit our website and if you think you've bought a fraudulent ticket report it to Action Fraud.' 

Here's a piece of advice - always shop around for the best deal but don't try and wing it.

Sometimes, deals really are too good to believe.

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