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Don’t fall for this Thomas Cook scam!

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Cybercriminals are getting increasingly clever. And, at Hayes Connor, we regularly hear about the latest dangerous scams. Today we have been alerted to a new scam. One that is targeting people already in distress. So what do you need to know about the Thomas Cook scam?

Thomas Cook refund scam

We found out about this scam when one of our team saw the following post on Facebook:

"Just had a phone call from 'Thomas Cook refund agent' going to give me a refund on the holiday I have purchased (no I haven't) just need my card details and 3-digit number on back to refund me ...... this is disgusting...people have lost their jobs and livelihoods and people are already scamming."

We couldn't agree more. This is disgusting. But unfortunately, cybercriminals have no such scruples. In fact, taking advantage of people who are already worried about losing money is a standard trick. That's because, in a panic to make sure they don't become a victim, people often give criminals access to the very data they need.

Luckily this person spotted the crime. But not everyone is so aware.

What can you do to protect yourself from online scams?

  • Never disclose security details such as your PIN or passwords to anyone (including your bank)
  • Don't assume an email, text or phone call is authentic. Just because someone knows some personal information about you (i.e. your address, mother's maiden name etc.), that doesn't mean they are genuine. Also, criminals can spoof numbers so that calls and messages look like they are from someone you trust
  • Know that banks or other trusted organisations will never contact you and ask you for your PIN, password or security code. They also won't ask you to transfer money to a secure account
  • Be aware who you're sharing your personal information with. Only give out details to a service you trust and that you've contacted directly or are expecting to be contacted by. Even then, do not hand over sensitive information
  • Always call an organisation back using trusted contact details to check everything is genuine
  • Don't be rushed into handing over personal or financial information
  • If something doesn't feel right listen to your instincts. Leave the conversation if it makes you at all uncomfortable. A legitimate organisation would never try to panic you out of taking security checks
  • Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text
  • If you're worried that you may be at risk, report it to your bank, the Police or Action Fraud straight away.

What is the official advice?

When it comes to the Thomas Cook collapse, passengers with ATOL protection who are yet to travel are entitled to a full refund on any future bookings. Customers without ATOL protection should speak to their credit card provider or the company they booked their holiday with. They can also speak to their travel insurance provider to see if they are able to claim back any of their costs.

The government warns that people should be "vigilant and on the lookout for scams, particularly if you receive unsolicited contact from companies suggesting you rebook a Thomas Cook holiday through them."

According to Gov.UK, it might be a scam if:

  • It seems too good to be true - for example, a holiday that's significantly cheaper than you'd expect it to be
  • Someone you don't know contacts you unexpectedly
  • You suspect you're not dealing with a real company - for example if there's no postal address
  • You've been asked to transfer money quickly
  • You've been directed away from trusted sites for payment
  • You've been asked to pay in an unusual way - for example, by iTunes vouchers or through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union
  • You've been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
  • You haven't had written confirmation of what's been agreed.

Get digitally aware

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we want to reduce the number of data violations and successful cyber scams taking place across the UK. To do this, we are raising awareness of this issue and educating people to help stop fraudsters in their tracks.

For more advice on how to keep safe, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of an online scam, contact us find out how we can help you to recover any losses.