Holiday fraud is when a criminal impersonates trusted websites or creates fake adverts to trick you into booking a holiday through them, giving them your money or personal information. 

Most holiday scams take place online. Criminals set up fake websites that appear to sell flights in the UK and overseas, holiday packages, accommodation, and tour operator packages. They may also post fake advertisements on trusted websites, hoping you’ll click on them and pay the criminal directly, rather than through the genuine site. They may also clone the websites of genuine companies, so you think you’re making a real purchase. These ads and websites often look similar to trusted websites and organisations. 


  • Research the company you’re booking through, read reviews and be cautious of any “too goo to be true” offers. 
  • Make sure you’re on a genuine seller’s website by double checking website links. 
  • Avoid clicking on links from social media, message or email – always visit the seller’s website directly. 
  • Search accommodation on other websites to check prices and make sure the location exists. 
  • Always use a secure payment platform from trusted retailers – avoid paying with bank transfer. 
  • If you’re booking a package holiday, make sure the tour operator or travel company is a member of a recognised trade association such as ABTA or ATOL. 
  • When waiting for a refund, always make sure you’re talking to the genuine company or airline. 



  • Make sure your card company has your up to date contact details. 
  • Ensure you have your card company’s 24-hour telephone number with you in case you need to contact them. 
  • Only take cards you intend to use, leave the others securely at home. 


  • Don’t let your card out of sight, especially at restaurants and bars. 
  • Don’t give your pin to anyone, even if they claim to be the police or your card company. 
  • Shield your pin when typing it in. 
  • Look after all your other belongings like passports, phones, wallets, purses, travel and ticket information. 


  • Check your card statements for any unfamiliar transactions. If you do spot any, report them to your bank immediately. 
  • Check your bank account balance regularly to make sure that you are aware of any funds that have been withdrawn from your account without your authorisation. 

If you think you have been scammed, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your debit or credit card. 

Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101. 


Andrew* was using a holiday booking website he had stumbled across online to book a summer break overseas. He was looking through listings and found one that had everything he wanted and was at a very low price. He didn’t want to miss out on the great deal so he quickly contacted the owner, made a payment and provided his personal information.

Days later he realised he had fallen for a fraud when he couldn’t get hold of the owner and he found out the property was not on any online maps.

*These case studies are based on insights from partners.


Always remember

Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices – if it’s at a rock bottom price ask yourself why

Do your research before making any purchases by reading reviews of the site or person you’re purchasing from. Before booking accommodation ask what checks the agent makes on both the landlord and advertised property. Verify that the address exists through web searches and online maps.

Where possible, book directly with an established hotel or through a reputable travel company/agent that is a member of a trade body such as ABTA or ATOL. If you do decide to book independently, establish if you’re dealing with the property owner or a letting agent or via the local tourist information desk.

Ensure you read the terms and conditions before making any bookings to confirm exactly what you’re being sold. Double-check both your travel and accommodation information, particularly if there is a long gap between making the booking and arrival.

Always use the secure payment options recommended by reputable online travel providers

Where possible, use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75

Always access the website you’re purchasing from by typing it into your web browser and be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails

Don’t click on links or attachments in social media posts or emails

Question uninvited approaches and contact organisations directly to confirm requests using a known email or phone number

Only give out your personal or financial information to services you have consented to and are expecting to be contacted by

If you have visited a website you think is suspicious you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.


Scam warning: Criminals may purport to be from Take Five, using our official branding on websites, social media posts, literature, on the phone or by text. Take Five doesn’t provide endorsement or approval for any products/services and would never call or text anyone.