BRITS have been warned about a number of scams circulating on Facebook imitating travel companies such as Thomas Cook, Butlin’s and Carnival Cruises.
The scams offer promotions and free holidays – only to steal the user’s personal information when they click through.
Hoax-Slayers, a website dedicated to highlighting internet scams, was created by Australian Brett Christensen to help consumers spot fake competitions.
Earlier this month, Hoax-Slayer warned of a Butlin’s scam, which offered a free holiday via a page called “Butlins Fans”, with social media users encouraged to enter a fake giveaway.
The scam tricks users into signing up to the competition by entering their name, home address, email address and phone number.
This then results in the person being targeted for other fake offers and deals using the information.
Butlins told Sun Online Travel: “We only ever run competitions and giveaways on our official Butlin’s social media pages or with official partners which, where possible, are verified.
“Unfortunately, that doesn’t prevent these scam pages from appearing, and we are talking to all the social channels in order to try and stop them in future.
“We welcome being alerted to any potential fake pages by our guests, and we will always confirm when something is not genuine.
“Our advice is to always check with us before giving out any personal information, or even following, sharing or liking any pages which purport to be part of Butlin’s.”
A recent scam on the bogus Thomas Cook Fans Facebook page targeted Thomas Cook customers.
The hoax was offering a Cyprus Holiday for Two for ten people, with a Photoshopped picture of staff.
A Thomas Cook spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “We are aware of the recent scam page and have reported it to Facebook to get it removed.
“Our social media team are also advising customers that it is not an official Thomas Cook page.”
The page is no longer available on Facebook.
Other recent scams include free Air New Zealand plane tickets in celebration of their 79th birthday, and fake holidays to Bora Bora on a Majorca Holidays page.
Carnival Cruises, which is also often a victim of fake competition pages, told Sun Online Travel: “We actively monitor social channels and work quickly to call out any fake pages created on Facebook and other sites.
“We would never ask for the data being requested. Unfortunately, until Facebook takes steps to restrict these fake pages before they are even created, there is little that a brand can do.”
Now, travel companies are advising social media users to only use their official pages for competitions to avoid falling victim and for social media sites to remove these pages.
A popular scam that used fake holiday villa websites to steal customers’ money saw Brits lose £6.7 million in 2017.
To avoid falling victim, Which? revealed some of the the most common travel scams.
These include accommodation booking scams of fake places, hacking Wi-Fi access in a public place and free holiday and plane tickets competitions.
Sun Online Travel has contacted Carnival Cruises and Facebook for additional comment.