Scams becoming harder to avoid with 1 in 2 people conned on holiday or know someone who has
With over half (54 per cent) of people having either faced a scam while travelling overseas or know someone who has, the danger of a con has many of us on high alert. Holiday scams aren’t limited to warmer climates, with many winter-specific scammers out there ready to catch out unsuspecting holiday-makers.
A survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1500 Australian adults, commissioned by leading travel insurance comparison service comparethemarket.com.au, revealed how overseas scams are affecting our travel habits.
Nearly two-thirds of Aussies surveyed (64 per cent) expect someone will try to scam them while abroad. When it comes to accommodation, scammers are copying legitimate hotel rooms and holiday rental photos to create fake ads and websites during peak tourist seasons. The 335,000 Aussies heading over to New Zealand this winter should be wary; if a dream ski resort looks too good to be true then it probably is.
Abigail Koch, spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au says, “With winter approaching, travellers need to stay alert to fraudulent websites where customers are prompted to send payment to overseas bank accounts in order to book. Never pay for accommodation by a money transfer system as these payments cannot be traced.”
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) recent scam activity report reveals Australians lost over $4 million in 2017 to upfront payment and advanced fee scams, which asked those targeted to send money to receive a ‘reward’, including a free or discounted holiday.
“If you’re feeling pressured into paying a deposit quickly, this is a tell-tale sign of a scam. Take note of the contact details of who contacted you to report the travel prize scam to the police and ACCC’S Scamwatch, to help apprehend the scammers and warn the community.”
Ski rental scams, where visitors are provided faulty equipment and asked to pay for the damage in full, can also derail a holiday.
“Snow gear doesn’t come cheap, so make sure you check over any hired equipment for damage and record it in writing to ensure you’re not hit with incorrect fees. It’s important to compare ski cover policies to get the best cover available for you, to protect against any repairs to your own or hired equipment plus save on any unused equipment or lessons due to sickness, injury or a lost ski pass.”
Comparethemarket.com.au provides a checklist to avoid winter travel scams:
- Check the listing is genuine: Is the website reputable? Don’t rely on the url name, which can be easily bought and used to misguide users. Instead check the images they have used to see if they’re fake copies. You can do this by saving any image from the website and selecting the camera icon in Google Image search to upload and search the photo. This will show where else the image is being used online and may point you to the legitimate company the scammers have taken this from.
- Quality of reviews: Scammers won’t have a list of happy customers to sing their praises. Search the name of your travel accommodation, equipment hire or tour company in TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet and across social media to see what people are saying online.
- Payment red flags: Are you being asked to transfer money to a bank that’s located in a different country to where you’re travelling to? Treat this as suspicious and look elsewhere if something doesn’t feel right.
- Contact details: If you’re wary of tourism companies, take careful note of their contact details. Search the business address and see if any other businesses are listed there. Check if a landline is listed, does the number match the area you’re visiting? If not, it’s probably best to walk away.
For interviews and more information, please contact:
Claire Rosenberg | 07 3708 8696 | 0418 351178 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comparethemarket.com.au is an online comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We help Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy products from a wide range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool enables consumers to find a product that best suits their needs and their back pocket. We’re also in the business of comparing personal finance products, utilities and can help find the lowest fuel prices in your area. Whether it’s car, health or home & contents insurance, we provide a completely free service, that empowers Australians to make buying decisions with greater trust, knowledge and savings. We’ve got your back, simples.
 Survey conducted by Pureprofile
 Statistics New Zealand Infoshare Visitor arrivals from Australia by state/territory and purpose (Monthly) from June to August 2017