There has been an increase in staycation scams, including copycat websites, as criminals exploit the latest Government advice to holiday at home.
FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), said that criminals are zoning in on the increased demand for domestic holidays.
Fáilte Ireland has found that 60% of people are planning a holiday in Ireland over the next six months.
FraudSMART is urging consumers to be extra careful when booking their holiday.
BPFI head of financial crime and security, Keith Gross, says there has been a two-fold increase in the number of people looking for holiday homes this summer.
As a result of this pent-up demand, we are warning consumers of an increased risk in holiday purchase scams as fraudsters take advantage of this.
The types of scams include copycat websites that look almost identical to the legitimate holiday accommodation site.
Ms Gross says consumers should also be wary of fake emails and advertisements on social media offering bargain holiday deals.
A golden rule should be to never click through to a seller’s website via an email link or social media advertisement.
Never forget that if an offer looks too good to be true, it usually is — so any offer should be thoroughly examined, said Mr Gross.
Consumers should check the website or web address to ensure it is genuine, and only make a purchase through an official website.
“Avoid cheap online deals or ‘super deals’ you’ll find on social media ads,” said Mr Gross.
If the price of your holiday is considerably cheaper than the average cost elsewhere, you should be suspicious.
Consumers should also check whether the website offering the deal has been reviewed online across different trusted sources.
Another thing to avoid is paying a private individual by bank transfer, because it is difficult to get the money back if something goes wrong.
"Genuine suppliers or sellers usually have a merchant portal," says Mr Gross.