Scammers target holiday-goers looking for cheap deal

TRAVELLERS should be wary of holiday scams when looking for a cheap deal this winter holiday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has warned.

Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said when Australians were making holiday plans, scammers were plotting to steal money through fake rental listings, fraudulent holiday vouchers and hacking travel websites.

The commission had evidence scammers were setting up online listings to lure unsuspecting consumers into parting with their money.

For some of the scams, victims pay for accommodation that either does not exist, or the owner of the property knows nothing about the booking.

The commission had also received reports of scammers hacking holiday websites, including rental and travel agents, to access email queries from customers.

"Our most commonly reported travel scam comes from holidaymakers finding that discount accommodation vouchers they paid for don't arrive, are fakes or simply can't be used as promised," Ms Rickard said.

"Before booking your holiday, do your homework by contacting the company directly using details that you have sourced independently through the phone book or an online search.

"Often scammers have no arrangements with the accommodation providers to offer discount stays."

She also advised people to ensure their computer security was up to date, and if you think you have been targeted, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.