A Cambridge-based travel firm is warning people to watch out for holiday booking fraudsters.
Premier Travel has highlighted a report revealing nearly 5,000 people fell victim to scams last year.
The report, by Action Fraud, said 4,700 travellers were a victim of some kind of travel-related scam in 2017.
The most common types of fraud related to the sale of airline tickets and accommodation bookings, according to the report, with scammers setting up fake websites, posting fake adverts for accommodation online and on social media, and people paying for an airline ticket that never turned up.
Premier Travel, which has a branch in Cambridges Sidney Street, is advising people to do their research and not book in haste if a deal looks too good to be true, especially in peak holiday periods.
Paul Waters, director of Premier Travel, said: “Worryingly, the number of people who reported travel fraud was highest in the summer and in December, which means fraudsters are targeting the peak holiday periods when demand is higher and availability limited.
“Unfortunately, weve seen the damage caused by holiday scammers, with devastated customers asking us for advice after finding out they have been duped. It can have a huge impact on a persons health, emotional well-being and finances.
“Holidays are one of the biggest purchases many of us make each year, so its important to make sure everything is above board.
“Be wary and dont get lured into something that might look to be a cut-price holiday, flight or a deal on accommodation – check the company is reputable and seek advice from a travel firm if youre ensure. If in doubt, dont book.”
He added: “Make sure the company is a member of a recognised travel authority which can offer financial protection, pre and post-booking support and a complaints service.
"Booking through a travel agent will offer all of this as well as save you money and, most importantly, peace of mind.”