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Urgent scam warning for Brits travelling abroad as new rule could leave you vulnerable to fraudsters – don’t fall for it

BRITS travelling to top holiday destinations have been warned they could be vulnerable to scams under new visa rules.

The EU has admitted that its new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias) scheme could be open to abuse by fraudsters.

Brits have been warned that the EU’s new visa rules could leave them vulnerable to fraudsters

The rules are set be introduced in November 2023 and will require tourists from 60 countries, including the UK, to apply for a visa exemption online at least 96 hours before departure.

Approval will be required to enter any of the EU’s 27 member states, including popular holiday destinations like France, Spain and the Czech Republic.

However, new EU guidance suggests that companies could “engage in abusive practices” that con, or even defraud, customers.

The USA’s equivalent system, the Esta scheme, has been a breeding ground for a number of scams and rip-offs in the past.

For example, many third-party websites legally offer to help holidaymakers with applications but charge large premiums for things like ‘document checks’.

While that is legal, many scam websites offering the same service take customer’s money and don’t give anything in return.

There are fears this could happen with the Etias system too, as the EU have announced that it will allow third-party sites to sell it, while admitting the process is open to exploitation.

The new passenger guidance, seen by The Times, warns that there could be “attempts to mislead applicants into believing that their site is the official channel for submitting an Etias application”.



It adds: “This may give the false impression that the additional fee charged by the commercial intermediary is a mandatory part of the application process.”

The guidance also says that some sites may make “fraudulent use of the personal or financial data provided by the applicant”.

Applications for the scheme are expected to open next summer, and scores of websites with “Etias” in their domain name have already been set up.

Guy Hobbs, editor of Which? Travel, said: “The European Commission has promised that the vast majority of travellers will receive their Etias visa waiver within minutes, so travellers should be very wary of third-party sites promising to fast-track applications for a fee.

“People should also ignore unsolicited calls or messages inviting them to apply.”

The EU said passengers who fall victim to scams will be able to report it on their website, but that they would not provide “remedies in individual cases”.

The Etias application will be available on the official EU website and customers will be charged only for the application, with no extra premiums.

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  1. Pingback: Brit holiday warning as huge queues expected at top destinations next summer

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