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.


Leaflet for Printing

The below leaflets have been made available in order to be printed and displayed for educational and support purposes.

Villa / Travel Fraud A3 Poster

Villa / Travel Fraud A5 Poster

Don't get left standing outside. Take care when you book your villa or other holiday accommodation. Get safe online. Don't be a victim.


Page last reviewed May 2023