After a long 12 months indoors, it’s no wonder that thousands of us are now looking forward to some sun, sea and sand. We hope that all of our readers manage to get some R&R this summer – and to help ensure your holiday plans are a success, we’ve pulled together the most common scams to be aware of.
If you’re planning to leave the country then you’ll almost certainly need to arrange covid tests for when you return – it’s a legal requirement. Unfortunately, Which? have found that some rogue testing companies are making misleading claims and leaving holiday-makers in the lurch. This might cause issues such as the results or even the test kits themselves never arriving. Make sure you get your tests from a reputable, government approved company.
Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC)
These have replaced European Health Insurance Cards, and ensure that you can access emergency medical care while on holiday in the EU. They’re easy to get hold of and available for free, so if somebody tries to charge you for one then they’re likely committing fraud. Don’t pay anyone who offers to ‘manage’ or ‘fast-track’ your application. Instead, go directly to the NHS website and get your GHIC card without spending a penny.
With the flurry to book tickets for events and flights, con artists are taking the opportunity to set up fake websites and social media sites. These are often designed to look like other popular booking websites – however once you part with your money, you’ll either receive a fraudulent ticket or nothing at all. Scammers may also take this opportunity to steal your financial information and other personal details. In the worst cases, we’ve heard of holiday-goers turning up at the airport only to find that their flights haven’t actually been booked. To protect yourself against this common type of scam, always ensure that the details of the website are correct when booking, and don’t pay for tickets through unofficial channels.
Fake vaccine certificates
The Guardian reported last month that over 1200 vendors are in operation across the UK selling fake vaccination and Covid test certificates. These are easily spotted by border officials, and completely worthless to those who have purchased them – they won’t help you travel abroad. The best thing to do is to check government guidelines for the country that you’re travelling to, and use official channels to prepare the required paperwork. Ignore anybody who says that they can sell you Covid travel documents on the cheap, as they’re simply trying to rip you off.
There has also been a rise in phishing and spoofing scams related to claiming refunds for cancelled trips. This means that scammers are sending our fake emails and making phoney calls pretending to be representatives from travel companies offering refunds. They will ask for your bank details in order to make the payment and then disappear into thin air – taking your hard-earned money with them.