A warning is being issued to holidaymakers after fake websites emerged this month using pictures from legitimate villa companies.
Customers booking holidays are being urged to be aware of such scams.
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Two fake villa booking websites are fleecing unsuspecting holidaymakers out of significant sums of money, the boss of leading holiday booking website, Villa Plus has warned.
Consumers have been urged to be on the look-out for scam sites www.luxuryrentalsvilla.com and www.cycladesrentals.com after Villa Plus raised the alarm when they discovered their properties were being advertised on these fake web pages without the owners' knowledge or consent.
The villas are advertised with unlimited availability, cheap prices, and the only way to pay is through a wire transfer.
Last year, similar fake sites started to operate, affecting hundreds of customers across the UK. Every month holidaymakers were falling prey to cyber criminals, with some people even turning up to villas they thought they had booked, only to find they hadn't. There is real concern holidaymakers could be conned again this year as the fake sites begin to surface once more.
Nick Cooper, Founder and Co-owner of Villa Plus, told Aol Travel: "Scam websites like www.luxuryrentalsvilla.com and www.cycladesrentals.com are promoting villa rentals, where there is seemingly no intention of providing any service other than to steal customers' money and more must be done by those responsible for hosting the sites to shut them down.
"They are operating illegally, and it seems, with impunity. Our solicitors, Sherrards Solicitors LLP, have attempted to get the host of the sites in question to take action but they have unfortunately refused to do so in the absence of a Court Order.
"Some are very basic scams, others can be sophisticated, with websites having search options showing vast amounts of peak season availability, all with attractive professional looking images of villas, which have simply been copied from genuine websites.
"Once these fake websites have been discovered, it can take months for the webhosting company to shut the sites down. During this time pay per click advertising campaigns may still appear for quite a while.
"It has never been more important for the buyer to be aware when renting a villa and to take extra precautions and be super-vigilant."