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Police in holiday scam warning as more than 100 people duped in year

Some of the scams seen recently are paying partial deposits online for accommodation that either doesn't exist or is a fake website for genuine accommodation

Police are urging the public to watch out for scams when booking their holidays after figures revealed that 105 people in Northern Ireland were duped in the past year.

The figures from Action Fraud, for the period between April last year and this March, represent around a two per cent increase on the previous year.

Nationally, scammers conned consumers out of more than £15 million in the same period, which amounts to an average loss of £2,372 per victim.

“It’s natural for people to search for deals when it comes to booking their holiday trips, we all do it,” said Chief Superintendent Gerard Pollock, chair of ScamwiseNI Partnership.

“But too often what can seem as a bargain holiday, or a good deal online, is the start of a scam. These scams will not only leave people out of pocket, but also scupper their holiday plans. You may end up paying twice for flights or accommodation.”

Some of the scams seen recently are paying partial deposits online for accommodation that either doesn’t exist or is a fake website for genuine accommodation.

“Making sure you carry out thorough research on the company, website or person you’re booking with is crucial,” said Chief Superintendent Pollock.

“There are also some really straightforward things that will keep you right when booking a holiday. Don’t rely on just one website or review. If it’s a fake there’s a good chance others will write about their experience and some basic internet research will find it.

“Look for the logo, check to see if the company is a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and, if you’re booking a flight, check to see it’s approved by Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL). If it is a recent website or new social media page be extra cautious.

“Never pay by bank transfer – the safest way to pay is by credit card and, where at all possible, avoid paying by bank transfer to someone you do not know or have not met in person. If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

For further advice and information visit or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni.

You can also call Action Fraud via or call 0300 123 2040 or police on the non-emergency number 101.

Information and advice is available on the website

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