Beware of Internet Fraud when Booking Online

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Booking a perfect and yet cheap holiday has become an easy task thanks to various websites which allow users to compare prices for flights and hotels with only a few clicks of the mouse.  Unfortunately, frauds have discovered this as an opportunity to deceive customers looking for an affordable holiday.  It’s not always easy to tell a reliable site from a treacherous website since the number of providers has increased dramatically in recent years.   However there are a few handy tips that can help you recognize whether the website you stumbled upon is trustworthy or not.

How to Avoid Internet Fraud

Certain signs should alarm you when searching for a reputable provider.  The most important factor is the payment method.  Websites who want you to pay in advance without giving you any kind of confirmation obviously aren’t reliable.  Those who offer the option to pay by paypal can usually be trusted since this service is a guarantee for secure payments.  Paypal also allows you to internationally send or receive money which can come in handy in case a financial problem occurs whilst you’re on your holiday.

Another good method to avoid internet fraud is to check the provider’s online reputation and to see if others have already used the same service.  If  you don’t find any information at all, this usually is a bad sign.  Always check whether the provider has a physical adress and other contact details that allow you to reach them if you have a question.
Offers which appear too good to be true – usually are!  Always check whether the advertised amount really is the final price.  Sometimes additional costs can really ramp up your bill.  Finding a cheap holiday is possible, if you pay attention when booking online.

scam-alert

Some more tips

  • When filling out the order form online,  ensure the connection is secure and that any data being transmitted is encrypted.  This is easy to recognise, as a browser icon which resembles a key or a padlock is usually highlighted in green.  The URL will also start “HTTPS”.  Confirmation is provided by an external institution (such as VeriSign or Thawte) to indicate that your transaction over the internet is private.   These certificates confirm the identity of the e-commerce site, that the ordering process is secure, and that all personal information is protected.
  • If an ABTA number is provided on the webpage,  make a note of the number and check it is valid using the form on ABTA’s website.
  • Keep all documentation relating to your holiday booking in case of future problems.  Ensure you received a confirmation number and details of the holiday are correct.
  • If you are spending more than £100 and paying by credit card you should be covered by the Consumer Credit Act – which means if there is a problem you will be able to claim your money back.
  • Check for reviews of the company and holiday before purchasing.
  • Ensure your computer is up to date with anti virus / malware software  and updates.

Also be sure to check out my tips for booking your holiday villa online.

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