CUMBRIA'S Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, is urging residents looking to book holidays online to remain vigilant against scams.

As COVID-19 restrictions around flying and travelling abroad lift or lessen, many of us will be heading online to book a holiday.

However, cyber-criminals can create fake but realistic websites and emails offering deals to scam trusting members of the public.

Travel scams can present themselves in different forms such as fake websites selling fake tickets for flights or lodgings that do not exist and fake competitions defrauding people out of fees to secure a holiday.

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Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: "Technology has given us all the ability to book a full holiday from the comfort of our own home.

"However, it does come with risks. Cyber-criminals are experts at creating realistic websites, social media pages and emails pretending to offer too-good-to-be-true deals on holidays to scam trusting individuals out of their hard-earned money.

"It is so important, when conducting anything online, to double-check that what we are buying or signing up for is legitimate.

"Tips such as doing an independent Google search on the company and never giving your bank details over social media or email are easy ways to avoid being scammed."

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People are advised to research companies online to make sure that they are reputable. 

You can also check the addresses of private accomodations in Google Maps and Trip Advisor to ensure their legitimacy. 

Websites should also be secure if you are going to use them. It is also worth paying with a credit card as companies offer extra financial security. 

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Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online added: "Although it can seem alarming that you might be scammed when securing your break, it shouldn’t be a reason to stop you from booking your holiday online.

"Instead, we urge people to take some time before booking a holiday to read through our safety tips and familiarise themselves with the small changes they can make to ensure they don’t get caught out by cyber-criminals.

"Customer reviews are invaluable but don’t rely on just one review, research thoroughly."

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