Australian travel scam victims to file class action against Barclays bank.

Australian victims of a popular travel scam are planning to take legal action against British based Barclays bank, due to a high involvement of fake accounts in a scam linked backed to the bank.

The scam involves hackers who intercept conversation between travellers and luxury accommodation owners, usually over key sites such as HomeAway or FlipKey. Once intercepted, the hackers hijack the conversation and send the travellers to a cloned, fake version, of the accommodation's booking system and ask for funds to be transferred to a London based bank account.

"I contacted the owner, only to discover I had not been dealing with her. It seems her reply to my original email never made it through to me. It was intercepted by the scammer who then posed as her and sent one of his own. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Yes, I lost $1600 but we were taking my partner's daughter on her first big trip overseas. Like countless others, we could so easily have arrived at the villa, only to discover we had nowhere to stay," said two-time winter Olympian Hannah Campbell-Pegg, who notified Fairfax Media of the scam.

Nick Hyam, a Seminyak villa owner, said "I've had my identity cloned five times so far, and each time I contact Barclays I hit a wall of difference. This has affected hundreds of travellers. We are gathering documentation and a class action suit will be filed."

Such scams are not new. Another British bank, Lloyds, were involved in a similar scam. However the bank was quick to act, tightening up the identification process. Around 18 months ago, scammers started to use Barclay's bank accounts based in London and are now receiving millions of dollars from around the world.

"This could all end tomorrow if Barclays met its legal obligations and vetted the identity of account holders," said Beth King from Victoria, who owns a rental holiday villa in Seminyak, Bali.

Victims of the scam are encouraged to contact

Although FlipKey did not respond to questions from Fairfax Media, HomeAway has stated that they have begun a massive educational awareness campaign and have a basic rental guarantee in place, which reimburses phishing victims for up to a $1000.

Travellers are reminded that they should have a comprehensive travel insurance before heading overseas to protect themselves against any mishaps while abroad. Compare and find a wide range of travel insurance on Mozo.

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