Barclays reveals new travel scam stealing ‘thousands’ | Personal Finance | Finance

Barclays has issued a warning about a new travel scam fraudsters are using to steal hundreds, if not thousands of pounds from their victims.

As fraud techniques become increasingly sophisticated, it’s getting harder for people to recognise when they’re being conned. However, according to Barclays, there are a few clear signs to watch for.

In a statement alerting customers about the latest tactics targeting holiday-goers, Barclays explained how scammers are setting up fake websites offering “great prices” on flights and hotels.

Barclays noted that scammers often create a sense of urgency by claiming only a few bookings are left, pressuring people to act quickly. They may also assert that they are registered with ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) and display the logo to appear legitimate and safe.

When people start booking online through one of these fraudulent websites, the scammer will inform them that payment must be taken over the phone.

The scammer then calls and asks for the person’s card details, as well as a one-time passcode.

However, Barclays warned: “They don’t book anything for you. Instead, they use your card to buy flights in someone else’s name.”

The scammer will then say the payment has failed, after which they’ll offer to attempt the transaction again. The victim will give another one-time passcode and the scammer will use it to book another flight.

This process will be repeated several times. In another similar technique, Barclays suggests that scammers might claim they’ve accidentally charged too much and need the one-time passcode to authorise a refund or cancel the payment.

Barclays said: “Each time you give them a new passcode, they buy more flights. They often continue until they’ve spent hundreds or thousands of pounds on your card.

“At the end of the call, they give you fake booking confirmation details and tell you any refunds will take a few days to process.”

After the call, the scammer will sell the flights they’ve bought on the victim’s card to other scam victims.

Barclays warned: “This makes it more difficult for you to dispute the payment with the airline, as they can see it was authorised by the cardholder, and someone took the flight.”

Sharing some tips on how people can protect themselves, Barclays stated first and foremost that people will “never” need a one-time passcode to get a refund or cancel a transaction. Therefore, people should never share a code like this with anyone else.

It added: “If someone says you do, it’s a scam.”

Secondly, people should not assume a website is genuine because it appears at the top of search results. Barclays said: “Scammers can pay for this position.”

People should also “be wary” if a website says the booking can only be completed over the phone. Barclays added: “If a website claims to be registered with ATOL, use the ATOL website to check the registration is genuine.”

And finally, Barclays said: “Be careful when looking for bargains. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

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