Book holiday villa securely online, information on holiday villa fraud and how to avoid it

There was a well-documented spate of fraudulent holiday villa providers taking money via websites. If you go directly to an owner or small independent website there is a greater risk of fraud. Research showed that about 30% of holiday home fraud victims throughout 2013 were made up of villa and apartment adverts primarily online. Many users arrived at their destination and found no property there and nowhere to stay.
Thankfully there are ways that you can protect yourself.
The safest way to book is via a holiday home comparison website such as ours. That way you search and view only reputable providers. Either that or use one of the larger reputable providers such as Home Away, Wimdu or Holiday Lettings. By using holiday home comparison sites or reputable agencies you are much less likely to be putting yourself at risk.
Avoid simply using general search engine results and adverts.
Avoid looking at natural results (the ones that show lower down the page) on search engines. Look for reputable providers or holiday home comparison sites. A good set of customer reviews will prove the site is reputable and that
it’s ok to use.

The property

  1. Make sure the property has been around for a long time. There should be a date the property was added to any site it is featured on.
    2. Look for reviews from genuine users and bookers dating back a long time. If all reviews are posted on the same day or seem to be infrequent, they may be fraudulent.
    3. Use a satellite map to check the villa exists and there is a property.

The owner

  1. Never book directly with an owner unless via a large platform site or holiday home comparison site. If you find you are dealing with an owner without going via a reputable site then stop and walk away. There are enough reputable sites and properties on the market
    which means you should never need to book directly with the owner.
    2. Research the property online and find out as much as you can about it.
    3. If something looks too good to be true either price wise or information wise then it probably is. If most similar villas in the area are double the price, yours is most likely to be fraudulent as most properties in the same area will have similar prices.

Paying
1. Never send payment by cash or cheque, and always look to use sites that allow you to pay securely online via credit card or PayPal. Any payments over £100 in value mean you are covered by section 75 credit card consumer regulations which would mean in the event of any issues you can recover your funds.
Follow the above rules and you should be absolutely fine.

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