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Beware of Cyber Fraud and Timeshare

As we all know, we are living in a digital age. Shopping online has all but overtaken the high street, and that includes booking holidays. But there’s a dark underbelly to the online shopping world when it comes to booking trips abroad. Cyber fraud and timeshare are lurking, with an aggressive rise in travel fraud reported recently.

We decided that, in light of this scary news, we’d offer you some insight and advice regarding this threat, to help you steer clear and stay safe online.

Travel Cyber Fraud

The main problem with cyber fraud is that it can be very difficult to spot. Fake websites masquerade as the real deal, sometimes to a very convincing extent. These sites can look so sophisticated, so professional, that hardly anyone would notice the difference.

One cyber fraud scam is website cloning. In these cases, a fraudulent website would look exactly the same as the real deal. The prices will undercut the real site considerably, tempting you to take advantage of their unbelievable discounts. But there’s a reason they’re so unbelievable: they aren’t real. If you book on one of these sites, there’s a good chance you’ll end up out of pocket and with no holiday.

Travel fraud is currently estimated to be costing UK consumers £11.5 million a year, rising 425% year-on-year, according to data by the City of London Police.

Timeshare and Cyber Fraud

It isn’t just holidaymakers that are falling victim to cyber fraud, however. Scamming like this is also rife in the timeshare industry, unsurprisingly.

Whilst we are all-too-aware of people being scammed into buying fraudulent timeshares that don’t exist or contain illegal clauses, this isn’t limited to the dreaded timeshare presentation. Those who find themselves looking to buy into a holiday club, ‘points system’, or timeshare product of any sort online, for whatever reason, will probably also find themselves victims of cyber fraud.

The internet is a place where fraudsters can often hide in plain sight, using the same methods of professional-looking websites and unbelievable offers to tempt unsuspecting consumers. Older individuals, who may be less aware of the risk of such online scams, are particularly vulnerable to cyber fraud in timeshare or holidays.

Our Advice

We advise anyone who finds a website selling holidays or timeshare-style products to steer clear, and alert the authorities if cyber fraud is suspected.

If you fall for one of these cyber fraud scams, it can be extremely difficult to get your money back or claim compensation. We advise booking any kind of travel product via credit card, which offers you protection in the event that you are defrauded or mis-sold.

Whilst both the travel and timeshare industries are working hard to eliminate cyber fraud, there is still some way to go before we are able to fully stamp out these fraudsters. In the meantime, it’s important to remember never to part with your hard-earned money until you are 100% certain of the legitimacy of what you are buying. Take care, be smart, and seek advice if anything feels not-quite-right.

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