‘Criminals exploiting the pandemic’ British tourist warned of new holiday scams

Jane McDonald says travel series is the 'best job in the world'

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Which? has issued a warning to British tourists over new holiday scams from fraudsters. It said one of the cruellest scams has targeted people waiting for refunds from cancelled holidays.

Cold-hearted scammers are calling travellers and impersonating airlines or travel agents claiming they need bank details.

They are then using this information to steal from the customer and some fraudsters are even using legitimate phone details.

Some scammers have found out victims’ holiday details and used them to trick unsuspecting tourists.

Which? also said that scam companies are selling fake holidays using adverts on social media.

Customers are enticed to click through to a website and book a non-existent holiday on the scam sites.

It said some customers don’t realise they have been scammed until they turn up at the airport or accommodation.

Scammers have also created scam emails pretending to be the NHS. Emails invite customers to apply for a digital vaccine passport.

The scam then steals a customer’s personal information. Which? added that some companies are charging customers to register for a GHIC.

The GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) was introduced to replace the EHIC after Brexit.

It is free and British tourists do not have to pay for one. Scammers have also been charging British tourists (£75) for passenger locator forms.

The compulsory forms are available on the UK Government website for free but some scam websites appeared higher in Google results than the official website.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said: “Criminals are exploiting the pandemic and the demand for holidays in a wide range of ways, laying new traps to trick unsuspecting travellers out of their money.

“Our advice for consumers is to be wary of unsolicited calls and messages, and be cautious about holiday deals from unfamiliar firms.

“If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, you should report this to Action Fraud and your bank.

“Anyone who is struggling to get their money back from their bank should contact the Financial Ombudsman Service to review their case.”

One banking professional told Which? she received a scam email from a website pretending to be the NHS.

Where should you go on your next holiday?

Now that the world has opened up again it’s time to pack those suitcases and head off on a well-deserved adventure. Where should you be jetting off to? Take our quiz and find out.

Greece

With endless culture, gorgeous beaches and weather to die for, Greece is a great choice both for romantic getaways and family trips. Wander the historical streets of Athens and Thessaloniki or head to an island to soak up the sun – the choice is yours.

Japan

It may be far away but it’s definitely worth the trip. Japan has sprawling metropolises, stunning scenery, and a rich history and culture to boot. Check out the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo and make sure to get your fill of their world-famous cuisine while you’re in town

The USA

Hop across the pond and experience an array of cultures, climates, cuisines and more. You can leave the phrasebook at home and get truly immersed in everything that this sprawling nation has to offer, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty

France

With some of the best food around and boasting the world’s most romantic city, France is a great choice if you’re in a hurry. Be in its glorious capital in just hours, grab a pain au chocolat and practice your language skills while wandering along the banks of the Seine

Italy

La dolce vita is calling! With its stunning views, fascinating history and world-famous Neapolitan pizza, Italy is a great choice, whether you’re after an adventure or want to dive into a big bowl of spaghetti

Morocco

A little off the beaten track, Morocco boasts stunning architecture, winding street markets to get lost in, and beautiful landscapes. Soak up the sun in Marrakech or head to Chefchaouen for one of the most unique experiences a holiday-maker can have

The Caribbean

Sun, sea and sand – what’s not to love? Head to the Caribbean if you really want to unwind. With plenty of picturesque locations to choose from, from the streets of Havana to the beaches of Grenada, you’re sure to find something that fits your holiday dreams.

Iceland

When most people think ‘holiday’, sunshine and relaxation comes to mind – but a different kind of trip can be just as rewarding. Splash around in the Blue Lagoon and try your luck at catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This is definitely one for the bucket list.

India

India is well worth a visit if you have some time to spare. With an array of different cultures coexisting in this vast and vibrant nation, as well as gorgeous food to be enjoyed at every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in the experience. Take a trip to the Taj Mahal for that jaw drop moment

Swiss Alps

If snow sports are your thing, then this mountainous region is perfect for you. Venture down the powdered slopes and warm your hands at the après-ski afterward. Perfect for a group of friends, a romantic trip, or even some time with the kids – if they can stand the cold!

What kind of holiday do you like best?

What’s your budget?

How long do you have for your trip?

Who’s going on the trip?

How are your languages skills?

What’s your ideal climate?

Which is top of your bucket list?

She said it told her she could apply for a free Covid passport. She said she believed the form was genuine as it looked like the real NHS website.

She entered her personal information and provided her credit card details for a postage fee. After realising something was wrong she reported the incident to her credit card company and ended up cancelling her card. She also reported the scam to Action Fraud.

She said: “Within an hour, when I revisited the fraudulent website, it had been taken down. Even though I’ve protected my card, I can’t do anything about the leak of my personal details to the fraudster.”

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