West Ham and Manchester City fans desperate to book flights and accommodation for their teams’ forthcoming European cup finals are being warned not to fall foul of scammers in their rush to be there.


Demand for flights to Istanbul for Manchester City’s Champion’s League Final in Istanbul on June 10th and West Ham’s Europa Conference League final in Prague has soared since the two teams qualified. The scramble is also on for accommodation in both cities.


But the UK’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, which runs the ATOL travel protection scheme is warning that scammers are preying on those fans desperate to be there.

They are warning that some fans could end up booking flights and accommodation that don’t exist and losing their money.


Last year the CAA stepped in when a non-ATOL licensed travel business unlawfully sold trips to Liverpool fans trying to get to the Champions League final in Paris.


Just this week a report from Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, revealed that in the last financial year, it received 6,457 reports of travel fraud, amounting to over £15m lost.


Travel fraud encompasses many different tactics employed by criminals to dupe unsuspecting members of the public. The most frequent frauds are clone comparison websites, airline websites and holiday websites.


At a quick glance it would appear you are on a trusted site, whereas in reality the URL has been changed. Here, victims assume they are on the genuine site and willingly hand over money at a great cost.


Fake confirmation emails or booking references are even sent, which has resulted in some cases of victims only realising they have fallen victim to fraud when they are at the airport to check in for their flight to be told that their booking does not exist.


All credible and trusted companies are provided with a number that shows the company has passed the regulatory checks by ATOL, with this number being unique to the website.


Michael Budge is Head of ATOL and he is available for advice on what scams to be on the look out for and with tips on how to avoid fraud when booking travel for both European finals.

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