BRITS have been warned to watch out for fraudsters who are flogging bogus travel deals amid passport delays.
Holidaymakers are facing huge delays to their passport applications amid five weeks of strike action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union.
More than 4,000 PCS workers in England, Scotland, and Wales will take part in the action between April 3 and May 5.
And, fraudsters have been attempting to exploit the delays.
According to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), scammers have sent text messages and emails to holidaymakers offering speedy passport renewals that don't exist.
Passport renewal scams have been costing holidaymakers hundreds.
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As reported by UK Passport Renewal, individuals who claim to offer such services will charge consumers anything from £30 to £250.
The organisation has warned holidaymakers to be vigilant of fake travel deals.
John Herriman, the chief executive of the CTSI, said: "As always, scammers are quick to leap on any opportunity to take advantage of uncertainty and upheaval.
"The exploitation of delays brought about by Passport Office strikes
are just the latest example of scammers preying on people's
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As well as bogus passport services, some Brits have fallen victim to "entirely fabricated" holiday deals.
Adverts on social media have appeared online featuring attractive holiday cottages and hotels with "too good to be true" prices.
The CTSI has warned that by the time holidaymakers realised that prices were "too good to be true", the fraudsters had taken their money and disappeared.
In many cases, scammers told their victims to pay by cash, via bank
transfer or through services such as Western Union, which were
difficult to trace and non-refundable.
Meanwhile, some victims didn't realise they'd been scammed until they arrived at the airport where they found out that their flight or reservation didn't exist.
Katherine Hart lead officer at the CTSIsaid: "Lots of people are preparing to go away at the moment and, unfortunately, there are a lot of adverts on social media advertising cottages and hotels at home and abroad with incredible pictures and fantastic prices.
"These bogus adverts are designed to steal our money, leaving us
disappointed and without a holiday.
"As with any purchase, do your research, only shop with reputable
companies, and make sure you are 100% sure who you are dealing with and what you are getting before you part with any money."
The CTSI has urged holidaymakers to check the security of any website used to book a holiday.
As well as double-checking website links, they've encouraged Brits to read independent reviews and contact the owners of holiday cottages directly.
When making a payment, the organisation also encouraged consumers to book using a protected method such as a credit card, debit card, or PayPal's buyer protection service.
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