According to findings in new research commissioned by travel insurer LV=, cons such as shopkeepers hiking prices when they see tourists coming, timeshare fraudsters and taxis taking the scenic route are rife across European resorts, with a fifth (21%) of British tourists targeted during the last five years.
The research undertaken by YouGov on behalf of LV= reveals that the true scale of holiday cons is vastly underestimated by the local authorities with only 10% of holidaymakers reporting scams to the police.
Holidaymakers interviewed in the research said the average cost to them of being successfully 'scammed' was £250.
Brits are most likely to fall victim to conmen in Spain, with one in ten of victims targeted in a Spanish resort. Tenerife (7%), Turkey (4%) and Paris (4%) were also singled out by holidaymakers.
The findings show holidaying couples are twice as likely to be targeted by a scammer than other holidaymakers (43%), while independent travellers make up one in five (18%) con victims.
LV= is calling on holidaymakers to help discourage scammers by reporting them to the police, and is offering advice on how to avoid con merchants whilst abroad.
Emma Holyer, spokesperson for travel insurer LV=, commented: "The cold days of winter will spur many of us to start planning our holidays, but with one in ten holidaymakers falling victim to scams abroad in the past two years its clear there is an industry worth billions based on ripping them off. Not only can cons cost money but they can ruin a trip, so we are offering advice on steps to take to avoid ending up out of pocket or on a tour that you don't want to be."
Jess Prasad, from the Foreign ad Commonwealth Office's 'Know Before You Go' campaign, added: "Being prepared before you go abroad will lessen the risk of you being scammed. Read up on your destination as much as possible before you travel at fco.gov.uk/travel. If you are a victim of crime, report it immediately to the local police - and get a police report in case you need to make a travel insurance claim."
Additional travel insurance advice can be found on the LV= website or from fco.gov.uk/travel for detailed advice on travel to every country.
Notes to editors:
All research unless otherwise stated undertaken by YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2185 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26 and 28 January 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
LV= offers car, home, travel and pet insurance direct to consumers by telephone from its UK call centres in Bournemouth and Croydon and online from its website.
LV= insures more than 1.6 million vehicles and 470,000 households in the UK.
LV= has been awarded the Defaqto five star rating for home insurance and car insurance.
LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.
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