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Lester Kiewit speaks to the Association of Southern African Travel Agents about the Hello Darlings travel scandal.

– A travel industry expert shares his tips for avoiding travel scams

– Former Hello Darlings clients have taken to social media to share how they were duped into parting with millions for luxury holidays that never happened


© torwai/123rf.com

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

That’s the advice from a travel industry expert to consumers in light of the Hello Darlings travel scam which has seen unsuspecting holidaymakers seemingly swindled out of tens of millions of rand.

Hundreds of customers have reported paying the travel company for luxury holidays only for the CEO, a South African businesswoman, to disappear with their money.

Clients from across the country have taken to social media to share how they were duped.

Otto De Vries of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents shared the following tips with those looking to book a holiday:

1. Look for the ASATA logo when sourcing a travel company
2. If it looks to good to be true, it probably is
3. Don’t pay for your holiday by EFT
4. Look out for dodgy marketing materials such as fuzzy logos and low-resolution images
5. Are they making excuses?

These are big-ticket items and people are clearly not doing their homework before handing over their money.

Otto De Vries, CEO – Association of Southern African Travel Agents

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is – if that holiday is lower (in price) than anywhere else, alarm bells should be going off.

Otto De Vries, CEO – Association of Southern African Travel Agents

Travel fraudsters will put pressure on you to pay by EFT which effectively is paying by cash – rather pay by credit card which delivers a level of protection

Otto De Vries, CEO – Association of Southern African Travel Agents

© annamoskvina/123rf.com
© annamoskvina/123rf.com

De Vries says that while the industry is not regulated, Asata as a voluntary body represents over 90% of the travel industry.

He’s urging consumers to look out for the Asata stamp of credibility.

It’s not a guarantee but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Otto De Vries, CEO – Association of Southern African Travel Agents

99.9% of the time when we hear these stories, it ends up not being one of our members.

Otto De Vries, CEO – Association of Southern African Travel Agents

Members have to comply with a code of conduct and prove that they are a legitimate travel business.

Otto De Vries, CEO – Association of Southern African Travel Agents

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