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 Airbnb.com and Homeaway.com 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 .co.uk 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 www.abta.com
- 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 www.actionfraud.police.uk
Page last reviewed January 2020