For most of us, holidays are all about paddling in the sea, relaxing in the sun and having a whole load of fun. Sadly though, last year, more than 5,000 holidaymakers faced a summer of disappointment, bitterness and for some – bankruptcy.

Figures released from Action Fraud, show that holiday booking scams rose by nearly 19% in 2016, from 4,910 cases in 2015 to 5,826 last year – and that’s only those that were reported. It’s a heart-breaking scenario – you pay for your package, only to get to the airport to find that you aren’t even booked onto the flight. All that hard-earned cash has literally disappeared into a black hole.

But it’s not just the financial loss that hurts, holiday fraud victims have said their experiences have led to ill health, with some needing professional medical treatment; whilst others have teetered on the edge of bankruptcy.

Last year’s increase is part of a consistent rise in holiday cons according to Action Fraud, and fraudsters are using sophisticated cyber scams to trap unwitting sunseekers. Tricksters are posting fake adverts on legitimate holiday accommodation sites; on social media, or elaborately setting up bogus websites. Other swindles include selling fake airline tickets, phony passes for sports or religious events and timeshare or holiday club hoaxes.

Naturally, most of us are pretty excited when it comes to sorting out our two weeks in the sun and are more interested in bagging a bargain, but con artists are relying on exactly that. Action Fraud’s advice is to make sure you do your research, check for official logos (such as ABTA) and pay by credit card where possible – as transactions are traceable. And of course – trust your gut, if something seems too good to be true – it usually jolly well is.

But it’s not just scams that can ruin a holiday – lost luggage, delayed flights, medical emergencies – anything can happen; which is why sensible people buy travel insurance Whether you’re off on a single trip or planning on several far flung adventures, make sure you’re covered for any potential holiday mishaps – because they do happen – so be prepared.

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