Staycation Vacation Scams Soar, Banks Watchdog Warns | Business

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Consumers are warned of a sharp increase in coronavirus scams during the holidays, including a series of bogus lists of caravans and motorhomes targeting those planning a summer vacation.The warning from UK Finance, the banking sector, comes three days after the government announced a loosening of lock-in rules in England to help boost the tourism sector.

UK Finance said criminals were exploiting the uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions and cancellations to target potential vacationers and commit fraud.

The fraud prevention service Cifas has recorded a sharp increase in the number of vacationers contacted by fraudsters claiming to belong to travel agencies or insurers and offering to reimburse or book canceled flights and vacations.

The bank said financial firms work closely with law enforcement, but others must play their part as well. He called on auction and social media sites to take “swift action” to remove fraudulent publications and lists used to promote holiday scams.

On Wednesday, the ministers announced that “from July 4, people can now make a well-deserved stay decision.” This means that people can stay overnight in holiday homes and second homes, and book hotels, caravan parks and campsites, as long as businesses and individuals comply with official regulations and guidelines. This new regime concerns England, with different rules for other parts of the United Kingdom – for example, in Wales, travel restrictions should be relaxed from 6 July.

While many people are now looking to book a summer break, the government-supported Take Five anti-fraud campaign has published detailed tips with information on common holiday scams and tips on how to protect yourself from them. .

The banking organization said the criminals were trying to take advantage of the growing demand for stays by posting fake ads for caravans and motorhomes on websites, and citing lock-in restrictions as a reason why a vehicle would not can’t be seen in person.

“These vehicles are advertised at attractive prices to make people believe they are getting good deals, when in reality they simply do not exist or do not arrive once paid,” said a spokesperson. speech.

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Consumers are advised to do their research and ask to see a vehicle by video if they cannot see it in person. They should also avoid requests for payment by bank transfer rather than using one of the recommended secure payment methods.

UK Finance said in some recent cases criminals had asked the buyer to pay with PayPal. The criminal then fails to send a PayPal invoice, in which case the buyer is contacted by someone posing as a PayPal representative and receives a reference and bank account number to make the payment. In the end, the buyer does not receive his goods because the payment was made on an account controlled by the fraudsters.

Meanwhile, while airlines should resume flights and travel agencies offer discounted prices, consumers are advised to watch out for fake websites offering “cheap travel deals” that are used to fly from. money and personal information.

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