The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning people searching for holiday information online to be wary of 'travel prize scams'.
According to the ACCC, these scams typically occur in two ways:
People who sign up for further information during their search may be notified by phone, text message, email or post claiming they have won prizes in the form of travel vouchers worth a few thousand dollars or more.
People who participate in online surveys may be notified that they have won a holiday or vouchers. However, when they attempt to claim their prize, they are told they first need to buy more travel vouchers.
The ACCC says scammers advise prospective victims that they are eligible for heavily discounted accommodation or holiday packages, but requires people to provide their credit card and licence details in order to take advantage of the offer, which turns out to be fake.
People who provide these details place themselves at risk of losing money or being subjected to identity theft.
The ACCC has received 127 reports of this scam for the month of November 2016 alone, with financial losses totalling $8,308.
The ACCC advises people to be wary of offers that arrive immediately after they have completed an online survey or signed up for further information. They should also be cautious if the person or business making the offer does not provide any contact details beyond an email or post office box.
The scammer may also claim to be affiliated with well-known, reputable businesses.
People who are unsure about the legitimacy of any offers, should contact the holiday provider directly for details, using contact details sourced independently.
They may research any businesses that contact them online, including any reviews that may have been posted.
The ACCC's original notification incorporating further information can be found on the Scamwatch website.