David Cox- Timeshare Health Issues
Holiday scams are on the rise as the number of reported cases up almost 20% year on year – from 4,910 to 5,826, according to Action Fraud figures.
Those reporting scams had lost around £1,200 on average. But the losses are not just financial: for many as the worry also affected their health. Scams are not just a police or trading standards issue said David Cox in the lead up to the 2016 Conference of Scams at the University of Chester.
More than a 1/4 of victims explained to Action Fraud that their experience significantly affected their health or financial wellbeing. Most concerning was that 259 people said the impact was so upsetting, they received medical treatment or had been left alone risking bankruptcy. The 3 most most common types of holiday fraud relate to the sale of airline tickets, booking accommodation online and timeshare sales.
Those aged 45-60 were common targets of holiday scams. David Cox gave information on how to spot the most common scams.
- ‘Too good to be true’ flight or holiday prices:
- 'Considerably cheaper prices should set alarm bells ringing'.
- 'Flight prices are principally set by the airlines – with travel agents having some flexibility – so charging significantly less is often a sign something isn’t right.
No such thing as a ‘free’ holiday', Cox says
Many of the victims of timeshare scams Cox explains were offered gifts, freebies and inducements all to entice unsuspecting people into attending a seminar/sales presentation where they were duped into buying a fraudulent timeshare and loans sold by unregulated timeshare salespeople. You always need to be on your guard and follow your gut. Is it real or not? Don’t be talked into signing up for something you later regret, if you're unsure, don’t act.
If the only payment option is a bank transfer this should also set alarm bells ringing. Not only does this show no bank is prepared to provide credit card facilities but, if you’re dealing with a scammer, it will be almost impossible to get your money back says 'Which' consumer association. When a consumer consults the internet and reads reviews regarding the company's satisfied clients, that company does not post reviews about its complaining consumers, so balance does not exist. In time matters there is a website called Timeshare Talk and there is a better than average chance that the posts on this site will have details of consumer experiences and warnings about the other companies.
Check several online review sites before booking.
Stay one step ahead of holiday scams. Customers may be particularly vulnerable as the overseas travel industry is reporting good early-booking levels, with accommodation and flights at a premium. Fraudsters could take advantage of this by offering ‘good deals’ over the summer. These will then fail to materialise, leaving people out of pocket and with either no flights or nowhere to stay.
The majority of those who were defrauded paid by bank transfer or cash, leaving little chance of getting their money back.
Some fraudsters now actively encourage people to pay in these ways by claiming that they are the only payment methods protected by their own bogus insurance schemes.
The most common types of fraud related to: holiday accommodation: fraudsters are making full use of the internet to con holidaymakers by setting up fake websites, hacking into legitimate accounts, and posting fake adverts on websites and social media.
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