Don't get scammed on holiday!

Updated: 
Going on holiday should be the highlight of your year but for many Britons that well earned trip can turn into a nightmare. Almost half the UK population has been hit by a scam during their lives. Lots of people would rather not admit it but the Office of Fair Trading puts the financial cost of scams at around three and a half billion each year.

Top related searches:
  1. Currency exchange scam
  2. Taxi scam
  3. Pickpocketing
  4. Passport fraud
  5. Credit card fraud scams
  6. Con artists
  7. Holiday complaints
  8. Timeshare scam
  9. Shell games
  10. E currency exchange scam
The Internet and Teletext provide a certain level of anonymity for fraudsters. It's easy to be alarmed by these types of scamming stories and you may feel discouraged. In which case it's worth noting that a recent survey carried out by Which? found that out of 766 people who had taken a short break in the UK or abroad only 15 had been victim of a scam.

However, remember to be on your guard when you are online because fake holiday companies still exist. The rule of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. You should certainly hear alarm bells if the prices seem unbelievable. The last thing you want to happen is to arrive at the airport and find there is no booking and no holiday.

Before you book check that the company is a member of a body such as The Travel Association (ABTA) or the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO). Proceed with caution if it has a large credit card loading fee or says it does not accept payment by card.

There are some basic guidelines to follow if you are thinking of renting a car on holiday. Check that you haven't been given a wreck and that it is fit for purpose. Is it the model you agreed on? Be very clear on the fees and model of car before you book and pay.

If you are using taxis make sure it is a genuine cab and not a con. You could end being taken miles out of your way and being charged a small fortune.

If a cabbie tells you there are traffic problems in the city beware. They will probably try to drop you at a metro or bus station, charge you full fare and make a quick return to the airport. Try and split big notes up into smaller change before embarking on your cab ride, it might save you being short-changed.

There are a number of X-ray thieves operating at airports. These usually involve various distraction techniques so they can relieve you of your belongings. This may be as simple as a mobile setting of the alarm to cause a delay while your valuables are removed. The answer is to travel as light as you can. Wait until the conveyor is clear before loading your stuff.

Lots of people fall for being given the wrong currency so do some homework before travelling and always count your money before leaving the exchange.

When making purchases be sure you are getting what you pay for. Swapping the contents of boxes is common so ask for the packaging to be removed or make sure it's packed in front of you.

Pickpockets are always on the prowl so keep pockets and bags zipped. Shout loudly if you ever feel threatened.

A common scam is to have a person in distress asking you for money. It could be anyone; the best way to avoid problems is to offer them help but only at the local police station.

It's worth noting that many banks will add an extra fee for transactions overseas, whether it's using your debit card at an ATM or paying by credit card. It's always worth using your card to pay for items however as they are jointly liable if there are problems with the items.

The best way to avoid problems is to take precautions. Do your research on holiday companies, the area, take ample cash, and pay by credit card, even if that means paying a bit more.