It's that time of year again, and a number of unfortunate would-be holidaymakers have been duped into buying trips to fictitious locations, fake airline tickets and cheap deals that cannot be honoured.
National fraud helpline Action Fraud has issued an alert after reporting 151 internet scams involving airline tickets this year. Typically, these involve websites claiming to be authorised agents promising low prices. More than two-thirds of these scams took place from April to June.
Fraudsters buy tickets on behalf of customers, then claim the trip has been cancelled and refuse to return their money. Another common trick is to buy a real electronic ticket then sell copies of it to multiple buyers. Alternatively, fraudsters will fake an email ticket, or buy tickets using someone else's credit card.
Dominic Blackburn, product director of background checking website 192.com, says: 'We urge people to take precautions. This includes checking the identity of individuals and organisations after first seeing a tempting offer, especially online, to make sure it's a bona fide deal.'
A Get Safe Online survey found that almost one in three people do not confirm the authenticity of travel providers before handing over payment.
For Get Safe Online's advice on safe holiday and travel booking, click here.