29 June 2023

TSB warns public of holiday fraud – as bank sees 239% spike in scams on social media

  • TSB fraud victims lose almost £1 million to holiday fraud in just two years
  • Flight bookings are one of the most common cases of fraud, with TSB’s customers losing an average of £3,200 where these frauds occur
  • Over half of all holiday-related fraud took place on social media in 2022
  • TSB recorded 239 percent spike in cases that occurred on social media
TSB – which operates its unique Fraud Refund Guarantee – is warning consumers to remain wary of online scams when planning their holidays this summer; as the bank reveals a 50 per cent increase in cases of holiday fraud1.
 
Holiday fraud – where TSB customers have lost money when planning trips through booking flights, hotels, buying campervans and using travel agencies, has led to losses amounting to almost £1 million (£928,495) in just two years.
 
Holiday fraud originated on social media platforms
 
TSB found that social media platforms are the most common origin of holiday fraud – accounting for half (51%)2 of all holiday fraud cases in 2022. Cases that originated on social media increased 239 percent in just a year; with the average TSB fraud victim losing almost £1,000.
 
Scams originating on travel websites accounted for almost one third (29%) of TSB’s holiday fraud cases, followed by WhatsApp (7%) and Airbnb (6%).
TSB data found that over 60 per cent of fraud cases in 2022 originated on social media platforms.
 
Types of holiday fraud
 
Payments for flights that did not exist accounted for more than half (51%) of all holiday fraud losses. Over £470,000 was lost to fake flight bookings – with the average TSB victim losing £3,255 per case.
 
The second highest category by loss was for purchases and payments for campervans that did not exist – with an average loss of £5,700 per customer. Overall, £160,000 was lost to this scam, accounting for almost one fifth (18%) of holiday fraud losses. However, this category is small by volume – accounting for six percent of cases.
 
The third highest loss category was holiday costs – which includes travel agencies, package holidays and deposits – accounting for 15 percent of losses at an average of £850 per case. However, this was the most common category by volume, making up one third (33%) of all TSB holiday fraud cases.
 
Steph Sinclair, Senior Manager, Fraud, TSB, said:
 
"A summer holiday is often the highlight of the year for those who have saved up and planned for a well-earned break. But sadly, cruel holiday scammers lurk online hoping to steal your cash and leave your summer dreams in tatters.
 
“We are urging holidaymakers to be extra vigilant online – especially on social media where holiday fraud has rocketed. Don’t let a scammer ruin your summer.”

- Ends - 

Media Contacts

Rebecca Kinghorn, Communications Manager, 07825 728 965, rebecca.jolly@tsb.co.uk 

Joseph Eyre, Senior Media Relations Manager, 07483 432 546, joseph.eyre@tsb.co.uk

Notes to editors

1 All data is internal TSB customer data from Jan 2021 – December 2022.
2 The methodology excludes cases where the platform has not been recorded as part of the case.
Top tips to avoid being scammed when booking a holiday:
 
  1. Where possible, book direct – many of the scams we’re seeing start on social media platforms. Try, where possible, to book directly from the vendor.
  2. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is – it’s always exciting to find a bargain but you should remain cautious, especially because not all adverts that appear on social media platforms are checking for legitimacy. If something looks a lot cheaper than you had expected or is available last minute, it may be a scam.   
  3. Don’t be pressured – often scammers will try to rush you to make a booking, suggesting that the price will go up soon or the accommodation is likely to sell out soon.
  4. Stick to reputable sites and check reviews – Doing your research before making a booking can be key to staying safe from scams.
  5. Use your card and a payment platform – Never agree to pay in an unusual way, such as a money transfer; stick to using your card and recognised payment platforms because you’ll have more protection.
 
The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.