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Look out for fake Travelex emails

Foreign exchange business was hacked on New Year’s Eve

Holidaymakers could be targeted by fake Tavelex websites after the travel money exchange company’s real website was hacked on New Year’s Eve.

The real Travelex website was suspended on New Year’s Day – and remains offline – but the consumer body Which? warned that fraudsters are likely to try to exploit the situation by sending people scam requests to ‘verify’ their data.

Police are investigating the attack on Travelex, which is understood to have received a ransom demand from hackers who infected its systems with a virus.

The company is believed to have been given a deadline for the payment in exchange for either the restoration of its IT systems or the preservation of customer data.

However, Travelex insists that no customer data has been leaked.

It is unable to provide its usual online currency exchange service, but its bureaux are able to carry out pen and paper transactions.

Other companies that use Travelex to sell currency have also been forced to suspend their online forex sales. These include Virgin Money, First Direct and Sainbury’s Bank.

Which? consumer rights expert Adam French is advising Travelex customers who have bought money online to visit a branch to collect their currency. Those without a receipt or unable to get to a store can try to get a refund by contacting the issuer of the card they used to make the purchase (usually their bank) or see if they can claim a chargeback (also from their bank or card issuer).

“As the scale of the Travelex cyber attack continues to unfold, consumers have been left in limbo, with some having paid out large sums of money for upcoming holidays.

“Travelex and all banks involved must urgently provide clarity to those impacted and act to ensure no one is left out of pocket,” he said.

Hot tip: Instead of buying foreign currency, consider a free pre-paid currency card instead, like Revolut, which offers one of the best exchange rates available and there’s no commission. It’s easy to load currency whenever you need it, using the app, so you never run the risk of running out of holiday money or buying too much. Note that you can’t use Revolut where there’s no internet connection, so it won’t work on flights to pay for meals and drinks or duty free.

Linsey McNeill

A journalist and travel writer of 35 years' standing, a once-a-week yogi, terrible skier and out-of-order mum to 2 teens. Previously Editor of, bylines also include The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, the London Evening Standard, Which? and The South China Morning Post.

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