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Action Fraud warns about holiday scams

26th August 2010

As the summer holiday season draws to a close, many people will start to think about where to go next. For some, they think they’ve found a great deal and an answer to those holiday dilemmas. But is everything really as good as it sounds? Action Fraud is making sure people know what to look out for, to make sure fraud doesn’t ruin their holiday.

Timeshare fraud can occur in a number of ways. The most common is when you answer a phone call inviting you to attend a free presentation to learn how to become a property millionaire from buying a timeshare. You end up with a timeshare that doesn’t exist or is far below the standards you were paying for.

In another scam, the fraudsters offer to help you sell your existing timeshare – for a substantial fee, of course. In some double scams the criminals ask for upfront fees for legal services to help those who've already been the victims of other timeshare frauds.

Some holiday makers also fall victim to frauds involving non-existent holiday villas. The criminals will take your money, and it’s only once you get to your destination that you find the villa doesn’t exist. You’re then left in a foreign country without accommodation.

If you think you’ve been a victim, don’t pay any more money and report it immediately to Action Fraud.

There are some simple rules everyone can all follow to help protect themselves:

  • be very wary of letters, phone calls or emails from companies you don’t know offering you ‘great’ deals out of the blue
  • don’t pass on confidential information to people or companies who say you’ve been chosen especially or that you’ve won something and never make investments without thorough research - check into the company and ask for several references
  • however much pressure the sales people put you under, never agree to anything on the spot. Take the documentation home and make sure a lawyer reads the contract before you sign it
  • if someone is putting you under a lot of pressure, telling you that you must decide NOW or not answering your questions...Think twice
  • remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Action Fraud takes crime reports from victims of fraud and provides them with a crime reference number. This information is then fed to the NFIB – run by the City of London Police - for analysis and possible police action. Action Fraud also provides a wide range of information for the public on how they can protect themselves from fraudsters.

Don’t let fraud ruin your holiday. To report a fraud, use Action Fraud's online reporting tool or call 0300 123 2040.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1.  The National Fraud Authority (NFA) runs Action Fraud, the UK's first national fraud reporting centre that provides a single point of contact for fraud victims where they can both report a fraud and seek guidance and advice.
  2. The NFA established in 2008, is the Government's strategic lead organisation on counter-fraud activity in the UK. It works with a range of stakeholders across the private, public and third sector.
  3. According to the National Fraud Authority, which runs Action Fraud, at least £3.5billion is lost by individuals to fraud every year.  However, the actual figure is probably much higher as many victims of fraud never report it.
  4. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau is run by the City of London Police.  They are the lead police force for fraud.