HSBC warns people with over £1,800 their bank account could be emptied

A travel payment expert has warned Birmingham is one of the most at-risk cities as HSBC issues a 'clone' scam alert. An expert identified essential red flags to look out for when booking holidays online after global bank HSBC issues a 'clone' scam alert.

The data revealed which city is currently searching for holiday bargains the most and, therefore, is at the most significant risk and also shared which holiday booking site is deemed the most treacherous for scams, according to user reviews.

Birmingham is seventh most at risk with 4,679 average searches per month – while an expert discusses essential things to look for on travel providers' websites. A substantial £12.3 million was lost last year in the UK to holiday fraud, with 6,000 instances, working out at £1852 each.

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New data collated by expert PayFasto analyses a list of Google searches made by every UK city (scaled to per 100k of the population), to determine where is currently seeking a holiday deal the most and is deemed most at risk of holiday scams. Among the keywords considered were ‘travel packages’, ‘holiday deals’, ‘cheap last-minute holidays’, and ‘cheap airline tickets’.

The UK city deemed most likely to be at risk of a scam is Durham with 14,754 average Google searches. The second city most at risk and searching for a bargain is Bolton, with Warwick third and the fourth is Croydon.

Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Plymouth, Wakefield and Stockport completed the top ten. Dennis Pedersen, CEO of PayFasto says, “The figures from last year’s holiday fraud reports are shocking. One of the other common ways scammers will try their luck is with payment processing. No reputable travel site should ever ask you to transfer money directly to a bank account - all payments should be handled online securely.

“One way to safely pay online when booking a trip away is to use a credit card. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases and will refund fraudulent transactions in certain circumstances (always check with the card provider).

“Using a credit card also means that if your payment details are stolen, your main current account won’t be affected directly. Other ways to protect your account details online are using Google and Apple Pay and services such as PayPal, as the business then won’t see your details directly.”