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Saps warns against last-minute holiday accommodation scams



Before paying over your hard-earned cash to secure a holiday booking, read these tips to ensure you are not being scammed.

It’s that time of the year when the festive feeling has everyone in holiday mode, excitedly counting down the days until it’s time to travel to their holiday destination.

But, for those who haven’t secured accommodation for the December holidays and are now frantically searching for availability, danger lurks as fraudsters take advantage of the festive spirit to swindle holiday makers out of their hard-earned cash.

ALSO SEE: Going on holiday? Here’s how to avoid post-travel fatigue

Tips to avoid falling victim to fraudsters

The South African Police Service warned South Africans on Tuesday morning to be vigilant when making last-minute bookings for holiday accommodation.

“Holidaymakers who are traveling or have not yet finalised their arrangements for the upcoming festive period, should be wary of fraudsters who target people desperate to secure travel and accommodation at the last minute,” the statement read.

The Saps recommends approaching the local tourism office in the area to check the legitimacy of a holiday listing if you are in doubt.

“Most tourism offices know their local service providers and they will notify you if a letting agent or agency is appropriate or not.”

Tips to avoid holiday scams

  • Be cautious when searching for a holiday rental online. Scammers create fake vacation rental listings using high pressure sales tactics and a sense of urgency to force you into making hasty decisions.
  • Always verify contact information and look out for any red flags such as requests for upfront payments or deposits to ‘secure’ the booking.
  • Double-check the ownership of the property by doing thorough research online. Look for reviews, check their website, and verify their legitimacy. If you cannot find any information or the details seem dubious, it’s a red flag.
  • Rather use reputable letting agencies when making a booking. Agencies run a number of checks to ensure that everything is safe and legal.
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