The cruel scammers ready to cash in on your summer

The scammers can't wait to cash in on your summer. Whether they can lie in wait to exploit your family holiday, catch you out when you're looking for event tickets, or pounce when you're hunting for a summer job, they will take any opportunity to rip you off.

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The experts warn that summer scams come in a number of guises. Holiday scams are the most common, and rose by almost a fifth last year. According to ActionFraud, the big risks were posed by companies offering fake airline tickets, online accommodation and timeshares.

Meanwhile, other scammers focus on tickets for special events, including festivals, sporting events and big fixtures in the summer calendar.

Finally, when students finish their studies for the summer break, the scammers hit social media with a variety of job scams to catch them out.

It's worth taking seven steps to protect yourself

1. Start with a reputable site
When you are booking accommodation, for example, then a reputable site with safeguards in place will make it harder for scammers to take advantage.

2. Check the site address
Double-check you are using the site that you think you are. Sometimes criminals will put together a website clone with a slightly different address – such as going from to .org.

3. Research the company you are booking though
Do a thorough check of a company's credentials if you are booking a trip or accommodation. If people have had regular issues with the firm, there will be a record of it online if you search carefully.

You should also check travel firms are a member of a reputable trade body like ABTA.

If it's an individual offering their holiday home as accommodation, check they have been a member of a reputable site for a number of years, and read all their feedback.

4. Don't believe your luck
If you find tickets for a sold-out concert for a knock-down price on a resale site - for example - then the alarm bells should start ringing. Likewise, if someone is offering you a summer work where you get paid for doing nothing (or very little), then you're likely to be signing up for a scam.

5. Be careful how you pay
Never transfer cash directly into someone's account, because if something goes wrong there's no way of tracing it. If possible pay by credit card or PayPal, so you have additional protection if something goes awry.

6. Get your paperwork and then check it
If there's no paperwork, it should raise concerns about the company you're dealing with. If there is paperwork, check the terms and conditions carefully so you know exactly where you stand.

7. Ask questions
If you are looking for a summer job and the job description is very vague (and includes key phrases like 'work from home' or 'earn lots of money'), alarm bells should start ringing. Ask plenty of questions, and don't part with any personal details until you are totally sure that the job itself is legitimate. If in doubt, walk away and look for work in the real world. It's just not worth taking a risk.