One fraud which could catch you out if you are about to travel, or have just returned from holiday, is the airline giveaway scam. With these scams, you typically get an email from a well-known international flight carrier seeking feedback from you through a survey.
“The email might say that if you respond to the survey within a certain date, you’ll get a €200 voucher off your next flight with the airline,” said D’arcy. “The questions on the survey will be questions that you’d expect an ordinary airline to ask you — but towards the end of the survey, you’ll be asked for your bank details and bank account password to facilitate payment of the voucher.”
It is the question about your bank details which should alert you to the fraud — and it is important not to divulge this information or to respond to such surveys. With scams like this, the email address used will be very similar to that of the organisation the fraudster is purporting to be from — but it will have been altered slightly.
Would-be holidaymakers should also be aware of booking scams where fraudsters set up bogus accommodation websites and post fake adverts online. Many people have lost thousands after falling for such scams — only discovering they’ve been conned when they go on holiday and find the accommodation they have paid for doesn’t exist. Fraudsters are also hacking the email accounts of genuine travel company websites — and then getting in touch with the company’s customers directly, requesting payment for the holiday by bank transfer.
To avoid falling prey to booking scams, do your research before booking a holiday or accommodation, book through reputable operators, check the company’s website and email address to ensure it hasn’t been subtly altered, and pay by credit card rather than bank transfer. Ring your travel company directly (using the number you already have for them) if you receive an email requesting payment by bank transfer.
Another common summer fraud is the summer job scam where conmen offer non-existent jobs to children who are off school, or to students who are off college. Personal information, such as tax details and social security numbers, are sought — so the fraudster can steal the individual’s identity. An advance payment may even be sought by the ‘employer’ to cover the cost of training or materials for the non-existent job. Run a background check on any employer offering you or your child a job — and steer clear of the ‘employer’ if they’re seeking an advance payment.