Dream Holiday Ambitions Crushed!

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Dream Holiday Ambitions Crushed!

As the end of the year draws near and many look forward to a well-deserved break, holidaymakers looking for last-minute deals should take extra care as fraudsters look to cash in on the innocent’s demise.


Earlier this year, a seemingly credible travel agent operating in Durban reportedly duped victims into paying for luxury international travel packages. Only in later days was the travel agent’s fraudulent behaviour exposed when the luxury resorts and tour companies confirmed that no such bookings had been made on the victim’s behalf.


A cautious approach must be taken when considering online offers of massively discounted holiday accommodation and packages at huge discounts. Holiday scammers emphasise the feeling of FOMO and encourage victims to make full payment for limited offer ‘deals’ that do not exist.


How to spot a holiday scam: 

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Criminals are excellent at crafting legitimate websites, complete with high-quality images that lure travellers in as they create a false sense of security through their bargain deals that are way below the normal rates.

  • Extremely time-sensitive deals that require immediate payment in full are red flags that must not be ignored.
  • Search the name of the agency to find reviews of others’ experiences.
  • Search social media platforms for the name of the company to see what comes up.
  • Look at the contact details and establish what type of email address they operate with, Gmail/Yahoo/Ymail/Hotmail are screaming red flags.
  • When calling the contact number provided on the website are you able to get through?
  • Where is the office established? Can you find the location of the office easily in a search engine?
  • As a precaution, confirm the travel agency is a member of the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA) or the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
  • Get in touch with hotels, resorts, and tour companies directly to ensure they have a working relationship with your travel agent.


What to do if you think you’ve been scammed: 

  • Report it to your nearest police station. While it may be difficult to retrieve your funds if you have already paid, your case may prevent the next victim from being scammed.
  • Ensure you keep a close record of every interaction you’ve had with the travel agent, including all emails, text messages, and proof of payment details.
  • Ensure you receive your bank’s notification messages so that you’re alerted to any unauthorised transactions.


Should you need additional advice or are unsure of your legal rights, contact Hammond Pole Attorneys: TAbbotts@hammondpole.co.za

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