Sport fans urged to check for ATOL protection before booking an overseas sporting trip
The CAA warns travel related scams for sporting events on the rise
The UK Civil Aviation Authority have warned sports fans of the increased risk in travel scams.
It advised the risk of not taking appropriate steps could see fans loosing out on hundreds of pounds.
Travel fraud encompasses many different tactics employed by criminals to dupe unsuspecting members of the public and the CAA has seen a surge in fraudsters targeting upcoming sporting events that involve an overseas trip.
The most frequent ways sport enthusiasts are prone to travel related fraud are clone comparison websites, fake airline websites, as well as booking with an unlicensed company that can lead to the flights not existing.
Rugby fans in a scrum to get flights and accommodation for the Rugby World Cup Finals in France, set to kick off on September 8 are being urged to avoid being put in the sin bin by getting scammed as demand soars to visit the country.
With the contest set to captivate supporters, the regulator is warning those looking to travel to events over the coming months to be on the lookout for scammers preying on fans and to check for ATOL financial protection before booking.
Fraudsters are also targeting other events over the coming weeks and months including the return of European football for British teams and the Cricket World Cup in India.
The CAA, which runs the ATOL scheme, says sports fans should check whether their travel company is licensed, and their booking is financially protected by ATOL.
Fans could also protect themselves by taking out travel insurance and avoid replying to unsolicited emails, texts, social media or calls with offers.
Those planning to attend any overseas sporting events should also pay safe, such as booking with a credit card if they have one.
Most major credit card providers protect online purchases and are obliged to refund you in certain circumstances.
In the past, the CAA has stepped in when a non-ATOL licensed travel business unlawfully sold trips to fans trying to get to the Champions League final.
Michael Budge, head of ATOL of UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: "Unfortunately, big sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup Finals often kick off particularly focused scams, including fake deals being posted online and criminals posing as reputable travel agents.
“We don’t want to see people being disappointed or miss any oversees sporting trip, so our top tips are to check via our website if the company is ATOL licensed before booking, but also take other appropriate steps such as using a credit card, taking out travel insurance and be mindful that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
Top tips to protect yourself include looking for the ATOL logo before booking, watching out for hidden costs, doing your own research by reading reviews, securing your email and booking travel insurance once the trip is booked.