Lloyds cautions holidaymakers to be mindful of fraud attempts
Credit: Iryna Rasko, Shutterstock

Lloyds Banking Group has warned consumers against holiday and travel fraud risks ahead of the summer, highlighting fake flight tickets and Airbnb scams in particular.

The high-street has published figures showing that holiday purchase scams have risen 7% over the past year, with people in the 35-44 age group the most common victim, accounting for 27%.

Holiday fraud victims have lost an average of £785 over the past year, a 4% increase from 2022. Facebook, particularly its Marketplace function, was the origin of 49% of scams, but Airbnb and Booking.com have also been used.

Liz Ziegler, Fraud Prevention Director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Most of us spend January and February counting down the days until summer, excited for an eagerly awaited holiday. 

“Fraudsters, on the other hand, don’t need a countdown, as they are always on the lookout for ways to take advantage of those looking for a good deal to get away.”

Regarding fake products, flight tickets were the most common false item sold. Lloyds noted that scammers will create fake ads for cheap flights or pretend to sell airline tickets that they are unable to use.

Low prices alongside a fee for changing ticket names are often used, but once money has been transferred no ticket will be received. This method of scamming has also been used to sell fake holiday caravan staycation deals.

In the case of Airbnb and Booking.com, holiday makers have been warned to watch out for scams involving fake rental properties advertised on the site. Although not mentioned by Lloyds, the use of AI to create ‘deep fakes’ of rental properties could be at play here.

Fraudsters have also been observed using the platform’s messaging capabilities to impersonate a hotel and request further payment in a different way to the original booking, or for personal information such as bank accounts or card details.

Ziegler continued: “Whilst legitimate cheap flights and beautiful holiday homes are definitely out there, it’s important people take steps to ensure they are purchasing something that is real. 

“For example, Facebook Marketplace is probably not the best place to find flights for your next holiday. And often, when things seem too good to be true, it’s because they are.

“Always take the time to think about purchases you make online, and when in doubt, always book through a trusted retailer. When it comes to booking stays, always use your card and don’t be fooled by hosts asking you to ignore the website’s rules and transfer money directly to them.”