ACCC warns on travel scams

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is advising consumers to book their travel and holidays through accredited Australian travel agents after receiving 1650 complaints about travel scams this year.

Most complaints were from people sold holiday vouchers for $2000 or $3000, the ACCC said while others were sold fake trips to destinations at greatly discounted rates. Some fraudulently claimed to Qantas or Virgin airlines stating they have won a prize or credit points towards their next holiday.

The ACCC is advising consumers to use travel agents accredited by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ ATAS scheme that must abide by a code of conduct and have dispute resolution procedures in place.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard warned consumers that simply searching online for a holiday can alert scammers they can become a potential target. “Watch out for these fraudsters cold calling and announcing that you’ve won a travel prize, ranging from discount accommodation vouchers to whole holiday packages. To redeem the prize, you will be asked to provide personal information such as your credit card and drivers’ licence details before they can send it to you.

“Sometimes scammers will provide authentic-looking tickets and itineraries but when it comes time to travel, these documents are useless and the business cannot be contacted.”

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