VIEW FROM THE HOUSE

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

BOOK­ING a hol­i­day at short no­tice can be one of the joys of life, but, if you are do­ing so on­line, you could be the vic­tim of fraud­sters.

Ev­ery hol­i­day, how­ever spon­ta­neous, will in­volve a check-list. By visit­ing www.get­safeon­line.org.uk you can find a de­tailed list of ways to safe­guard your­self against fraud.

Some scams may be very ob­vi­ous – such as fake com­pe­ti­tions to win a hol­i­day, in­volv­ing pay­ing a fee – but other crim­i­nals might mock up a web­site for hol­i­days that do not ex­ist, col­lect a de­posit for a villa they do not own, or sell coun­ter­feit flight tick­ets.

There are sim­ple tips on re­search­ing ad­ver­tis­ers on­line, en­sur­ing that hol­i­day com­pa­nies be­long to a rep­utable travel au­thor­ity pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial pro­tec­tion to hol­i­day­mak­ers, us­ing a credit card safely to se­cure the pay­ment and mak­ing sure you are logged off from the site so all the de­tails of the trans­ac­tion re­main con­fi­den­tial – de­spite the ex­cite­ment of hav­ing booked that pre­cious hol­i­day.

With the preva­lence of smart­phones and tablets, hol­i­day­mak­ers also need to take pre­cau­tions when they are away, mak­ing sure that their pri­vacy set­tings are up to date and they have anti-virus soft­ware.

Ma­chine read­able in­for­ma­tion like QR codes can be faked and, as these can­not be read by the hu­man eye, this may not be im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous. Per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is gold dust for crim­i­nals. CIFAS, the Credit In­dus­try Fraud Avoid­ance Sys­tem re­leased a re­port early in July which said that young peo­ple are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to iden­tity theft by crim­i­nals who steal in­for­ma­tion gleaned from phones or tablets used in pub­lic places. CIFAS re­ported that nearly 24,000 peo­ple aged 30 or un­der were the vic­tims of this crime in 2015. That was a rise of 52 per cent from 2014. Tak­ing care of all those de­tails will help to en­sure that the hol­i­day me­mories are en­joy­able ones. What’s your view on this? Have your say on our let­ters page

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