It’s every holidaymaker’s worst nightmare. Your hard-earned holiday savings ending up in the hands of a fraudster. Over £7 million was lost to travel industry impostors in 2016, hitting the pockets of over 6,000 unsuspecting victims. So being scam savvy has never been more important! There’s plenty you can do to protect yourself – follow our tips and travel in confidence.
ABTA and ATOL
Make sure that you’re booking with ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) members. This means that you’re covered if there’s an issue with your travel provider, protecting the money you’ve spent on your getaway whether you are yet to depart or are already abroad. If there’s an issue with your provider before you travel, you’ll get a refund on what you’ve paid. And if you’re already abroad? No problem, accommodation and flights home would be covered. You’re never stranded or out of pocket with ABTA and ATOL protected
package holidays – even if you might feel like you could stay on the beach forever!
But beware, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated. Their slick websites might even include the ABTA or ATOL logos, making it look like the real deal. So if anything seems suspicious, simply get in touch with ABTA or ATOL. Checking the provider you are booking with is a genuine member will put your mind at ease – all you need is the ABTA or ATOL number they’re advertising. If you want a practice run before you book, why not look up James Villas? Our ABTA number is W3940 and our ATOL number is 2730. Holidaymakers one, fraudsters nil.
But, if you book accommodation and flights separately you may not be fully covered. Which brings us nicely onto the next tip…
Book your Holiday as a Package
Booking everything under one roof means hassle-free holiday planning, but it also offers an extra level of protection. You just don’t get the same guarantees on a DIY holiday by booking flights, accommodation and holiday extras independently.
Imagine travelling to your destination and everything is fine, picking up the hire car with no problems, only to arrive at your accommodation and find the booking for your villa was a scam. The genuine villa owner may have no record of your booking, or the villa may not even exist!
Finding another place to stay and footing the bill is not the first day around the pool you had planned.
Package holidays booked with ABTA and ATOL members are completely fi nancially secure. But if you book everything independently then you won’t be covered by the ABTA and ATOL benefits. Plus, the Package Travel Regulations demand holiday packages are advertised honestly, and travel companies provide the holiday described. So there’s even more reason to play it safe and book everything together with a reputable travel operator.
Read the Reviews
Doing your research will give you extra holiday security and priceless peace of mind. It’s time to get ahead of the scammers! Reading customer reviews and investigating a company online puts you in the know. And it’s even more reassuring when this feedback comes from genuine customers – people who’ve tried and tested the service and feel strongly enough to have their say.
That’s why we work with the independent review service Reevoo. Every time you read feedback on our website, it comes from genuine James Villa Holidays customers. We don’t get to pick and choose which reviews appear – what you see is what you get! These are honest accounts and the numbers speak for themselves. 96% of our customers would book with us again, so you know that
you’re in safe hands with James. They’re the ones who’ve been there and seen it – so be sure to read their recommendations.
Website Security and Browser Verification
Protect your big holiday fund by checking that the website you’re using is secure. After all, this is where you’ll be entering your personal details and payment information. Many unlucky holidaymakers have been caught out by searching for villa holidays online, browsing beautiful villa pictures on websites that seem genuine, only to enter their card details and send their money straight to a criminal’s bank account.
So now we’ve reached the point where we need to get technical. But bear with us! Just a few handy steps can go a long way to staying savvy online. If you can spot ‘HTTPS’ in the website URL, that’s a big thumbs up. It’s the ‘s’ on the end that’s important – it stands for ‘secure’ and means that the website is safe to use. HTTPS sites encrypt the information sent between the browser you’re using and the website. Then look out for a padlock and green text in the URL – this combination is your sign that the website can be trusted. This means that a digital certificate has been downloaded, verifying the company and their website.
Still in doubt about whether the website or a villa company you’re in touch with are genuine? Avoid inputting payment or passport information.
You might be booking your holiday on the go, so keep these tips in mind when browsing on your mobile too.