Villa and Travel Fraud

One of the most common types of crime involves fraudsters hacking into the accounts of well-known accommodation sites such as and or spoofing these websites with convincing bogus imitations enticing holidaymakers into non-existent  bookings.

ABTA, the City of London Police and Get Safe Online have published advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of holiday booking fraud – and on how victims should go about reporting it, including the top tips below:

  • Stay safe online:  Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from to .org
  • Do your research: Don’t just rely on one review, do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials. If a company is defrauding people there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences, and warnings about the company.
  • Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. You can verify membership of ABTA online, at
  • Pay safe: Never pay directly into an owner's bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money cannot be traced and is not refundable. Where possible, pay by credit card, (or a debit card that offers protection).
  • Check paperwork: You should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all.
  • Use your instincts: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Report it –  victims should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via

In 2014 ABTA, Get Safe Online and City of London Police compiled a report on holiday booking fraud, please click here.


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Page last reviewed January 2020