More and more scammers are posting holiday offers online that are untrue or writing messages with promises of an idyllic holiday. It’s about extorting money. We advise you not to be deceived.
What is a holiday scam?
You have to be careful when browsing holiday offers on the Internet, because cybercriminals are not sleeping and have started to act more and more dynamically in connection with the upcoming holiday season. The holiday scam is a popular way for thieves to operate during this period. Theft related to fake offers can be related to several aspects. In addition, you need to be on your guard even when you are already at your destination.
What is a holiday scam? This is a thief’s gambit of staging fake ticket offers, car rentals, lodging or apartment rentals, hotel bookings, as well as offers of fake holiday packages. After purchasing any variation of the holiday scam, the contractor is ultimately left with nothing. Money spent on the trip is lost, and there is no vacationbecause the criminals used falsified data and photos. As a consequence, e.g. arriving at the airport, it turns out that the purchased ticket is not authorizedor our name is not on the hotel on the list of booked rooms. It is also possible no price list in the restaurant or service premises and extortion of large sums under the threat of calling the police.
How to recognize a fake holiday offer?
– Too good to be true? That’s because it probably is. You have just fallen victim to a holiday scam. From fraudulent flights to non-existent accommodation, scams are big business for scammers, said Asp. Katarzyna Krukowska from the Police Headquarters.
The police lists what you should pay attention to when looking for holiday offers don’t be deceived. The following may be a sign that something is wrong:
- You are contacted by an agent, company or individual with whom you have not had contact before and offer you a holiday at a very low price.
- You get holiday banner ads with incredibly low rates.
- You get e-mails, text messages, messages on messengers and a phone call with offers of extremely cheap holidays.
- The offer page looks unprofessional and suspicious. There are only a few details and few photos of the property.
- Online reviews are unfavorable, there are none at all, or they look like they were written by a machine.
- You are asked to pay by cash, bank transfer or virtual currency. These methods are non-refundable.
- You are urged to pay the payment, or at least part of it, as soon as possible. The scammer threatens that the offer will soon cease to be available.
- You get an even bigger discount if you choose to pay quickly.
Disaster can be avoided by following these tips.
– Don’t respond to unexpected emails, texts, instant messaging, social media or holiday phone calls. Links and attachments in such messages may lead to malicious sites or contain viruses. Book your holiday directly with the airline, hotel or through a reputable agent or tour operator. Do thorough research to make sure the business is legitimate, police advise.
You can lose huge money
The police warn against exceptions attractive price offerswith strange messages promises of luxury vacations from strangers and buying offers from outsiders people, for example, from Facebook groups.
On its website, the Mazovian Police informs about the arrest of a scammer who pretended to have a vacation rental for sale. A 21-year-old resident of Warsaw impersonated a person selling a trip abroad. She pulled out the necessary data and scans of documents from a woman who actually wanted to get some money back for a holiday she couldn’t go on. Later, the 21-year-old used this information to set up your fake holiday sale offer. Several people contacted her. The woman extorted several thousand zlotys in this way. She faces up to eight years in prison.
Another example is the case of a 75-year-old woman from Łukówwho fell for the promises of an alleged Italian engineer. He wrote to her via the Internet with a proposal to go on a joint vacation. Arnold, because that was how the impostor presented himself, extorted several thousand euros from the womantelling her it would be enough much more expensive investmentshared exotic vacation.
You can also get inked while you’re already there. Some service points, hotels or restaurants conduct dishonest practices aimed at lulling the vigilance of customers. A famous example is the Greek restaurant DK Oyster. On the TripAdvisor platform, tourists posted a lot of unflattering opinions, indicating fraud in the pub. For example, you can read that customers don’t get menus with prices and then they get pulled over high bills“After 3 cocktails and fries with mayonnaise, the owner charged 417 euros,” reads one of many similar reviews.
What to do if you have fallen victim to a scam?
If you were unlucky enough to get carried away by your emotions and buy a bad trip or a fake ticket, you need to react quickly. Report the matter to the nearest police station, contact your bank if your payment card details have also been stolen. In addition, in the event of any problems with a foreign company, assistance can be obtained from the Office for the Protection of Consumer Competition and the European Consumer Centre.
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