Holiday scams

Holiday scams are getting more common. Take extra care if you’re looking for cheap flights and holiday offers.


Desperate for a holiday to relax?

Be careful if you come across offers that promise huge discounts - they might be scams.

In 2023, Action Fraud reported that fraudsters stole over £12 million from people looking for holiday deals.¹ On average, Bank of Scotland customers lost £851.²

Common travel scams

Cancellation refunds

Fraudsters know about the stress and disappointment that comes with cancelled flights or accommodation. They sometimes use cancellations as opportunities to trick people into giving them bank details.

If you get an email or phone call from a ‘refund agent’, it could be a scam.

Contact the company you booked the flights or accommodation from directly before you give any details.

Flight tickets

Watch out for fake adverts offering flights at prices that are lower than usual.

Fraudsters say they can no longer use the tickets and ask for money to change the names. But the tickets aren’t real. Once they have your money, you won’t hear from them again.

Always book flights through travel companies that are ABTA or ATOL protected. If you receive  an email saying your payment failed, check with the provider before you do anything.

Fake accommodation

Found a beautiful place to stay for a great price? Ask yourself if it’s too-good-to-be true. If you feel rushed and can only pay by bank transfer, it probably is.

Use a company that’s ABTA or ATOL protected or pay using a method that includes buyer protection, such as a credit card.

If you are booking through companies such as Airbnb or, make sure you pay through their systems. Avoid paying hosts directly, as it could be a scam. If an email says your payment failed, check with the host on the site first.

Social media giveaway

Look out for fake giveaways on social media, fraudsters get you to enter by sharing the post and then say that you’re a winner. They ask you to enter your personal and card details. But the giveaway is a scam.

If you enter a competition, be sure to check the official website - if the deal isn't there it's probably a scam.

Avoid travel scams

When you book your holiday, remember:

  • Make sure the company you book with is ABTA or ATOL protected.
  • Be extra careful if you find a deal on social media.
  • If it seems too good to be true, it may be a scam.

Stay clear of fake websites

Have you checked the address?

Beware of fake websites that look like reputable brands. Check the website address and page, it could give them away.

Look out for typos, poor-quality images, and designs that differ from the usual website. If it doesn’t seem right, it could be fraudulent.

When in doubt, use a website checker, like the one on Get Safe Online.

Have you checked the reviews?

Buy your tickets and book hotel rooms from reliable sellers or straight from the airline or hotel.

Avoid websites promoting holiday deals at prices that seem too-good-to-be true, as they may be fraudulent.

Check customer reviews on sites like Trustpilot or TripAdvisor before booking.

Learn about other scams and how to protect yourself

Learn about the latest scams

Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to try to steal your details and money. Discover which scams are common right now.

Go to latest scams

Have you been targeted by fraudsters

Contact us right away if you think you’ve been scammed. We can then guide you on what to do next.

Contact us now
  1. Information sourced from an article by Action Fraud, published in February 2024.
  2. Figures based on internal analysis of relevant purchase scams (holiday tickets) reported by Bank of Scotland customers from January - December 2023.

Stay scam safe

Discover how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

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Stay scam safe

Discover how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud