1 July 2024

Don’t let fraudsters ruin your holiday

The last thing you want when you head away on holiday is to find out you haven’t actually booked your flight or hotel room.

Unfortunately there are many travel scams. You might not realise you’ve been scammed until you turn up at the hotel, airport or cruise terminal, and then find you’ve no booking and you’ve lost your money, as it was sold by a fraudster.

Matt Hannan, Head of Fraud Management, HSBC Australia said “As with many types of fraud, you should be suspicious of anything that looks too good to be true. Be wary of any holiday offers which are unusually cheap or come through unusual or unverified sources, and do your due diligence as you should for any large purchase.’’

To avoid becoming a victim of a holiday scam, below are some things to look out for. 

Holiday booking scams

You may have spotted a last-minute holiday deal on social media, but the travel company will only accept payment by bank transfer. They may also request payment and ask you to share your credit card details to confirm your reservation. Be careful - this could be a scam.

Fraudsters are creating fake adverts and emails to scam holidaymakers. They often impersonate travel companies to trick people into visiting a bogus website.

These websites can look very convincing, and some may even be clones of real travel companies. Fraudsters may ask you to pay for your holiday by bank transfer – this makes it much harder for you to get your money back.

Holiday cancellations

Fraudsters can use a flight or hotel booking cancellation as a way to scam holidaymakers. They may:

  • Send emails posing as your travel company and ask you to claim a refund by going to a fake website
  • Pretend to be from your hotel and ask you to cancel and rebook with them directly to ‘save money’ or fees
  • You may also get a call from a ’refund agent’. These scammers may promise a quick refund if you hand over your bank details, sometimes asking for upfront payments disguised as fees.

How do you book a holiday online safely?

There are ways you can avoid becoming a victim of a scam. When planning your next holiday follow these tips:

  • Before paying, always verify the offer on the company’s official website and be particularly wary of requests to make bank transfers as payment
  • Check the cancellation policy before booking
  • Keep records of payment confirmations and receipts
  • If you make an online payment, don’t follow a link in an email but type in a website address you know to be correct
  • Make sure any payment page begins with ‘https’ and shows a padlock symbol, which means the communication link between you and the website is secure (but remember, the padlock doesn’t guarantee an authentic site)

HSBC Australia
In Australia, the HSBC Group offers an extensive range of financial services through a network of 34 branches and offices. These services include retail and commercial banking, trade finance, treasury and financial markets, payments and cash management and securities custody. Principal HSBC Group members operating in Australia include HSBC Bank Australia Limited (ABN 48 006 434 162 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 232595) and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (ABN 65 117 925 970 and AFSL 301737).

HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 62 countries and territories. With assets of US$3,039bn as at 31 December 2023, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

Media enquiries:

Jacqui Coleman
E-mail: jacqui.coleman@hsbc.com.au

Lillian Birchall
E-mail: lillian.birchall@hsbc.com.au