How to spot a holiday scam

The travel industry is predicting a surge in the number of holidaymakers this year. This is due to the government’s decision to lift travel restrictions. Many Brits are booking flights to seek relaxation after the pandemic.

Travellers may be more stressed if they do not take the right precautions, though. It’s all too easy to fall victim to fraud. And victims suffer personal harm even when they don’t lose money, according to data Action Fraud shared with Which?.

What methods do holiday scammers use to trick you, and how can you protect yourself? We’ll discuss the answers below.

Types of holiday scam

Fraudsters have a variety of techniques they use to steal. If you’re aware of what they look like, there’s less chance that you’ll become a victim. Here are some common holiday scams, as well as what you can do to ward them off.

  1. Fake booking websites

Criminals create fake websites that offer holiday deals that are too good to be true. When you browse or make a purchase, they get your personal and financial information.

Help keep your information safe by using a free VPN chrome extension ( They do a lot to safeguard your privacy. Even so, always use trusted websites. It’s easy to spot when a website is secure: a padlock will show at the start of the URL bar.

  1. Holiday cancellation refund scams

When operators cancel your flights, you must contact them to get your money back. Scammers use this opportunity to defraud you. They do it through phishing emails, fake calls, or even social media.

They’ll try to get your information or money on the pretence of helping you get a refund. Only share your information with official representatives you have contacted yourself.

  1. Phoney PCR tests

Fraudsters have capitalised on the pandemic. They have set up fake websites to take your money when you try to arrange a PCR test.

Although the UK no longer requires one for you to enter or leave the country, other nations still do. Be sure to check whether you need one with your travel provider.

Quick tips to protect yourself from holiday scams

  • Be sceptical about amazing offers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Ignore unsolicited offers. Links and attachments in emails may lead to viruses or malicious websites.
  • Book directly with airlines, hotels, or reputable travel agents.
  • Pay by credit card – it offers extra protection. Scammers know this and avoid them, leaving a trail that’s harder to follow.


Travelling should be safe as well as fun. Follow our guidance above to protect yourself from scams when you book your holiday.


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