We highly recommend that you use only trusted service providers when you’re booking a villa holiday.
Unfortunately, many customers have been tricked by fraudulent websites set up by scammers. These sites offer villas much cheaper than you will find on any other website, but they are often selling villas that either don’t exist, or are already booked through legitimate channels. Ecoibiza is committed to raising awareness of this issue to ensure people receive the villa they have booked.
Please see our guide on how to book your villa holiday safely.
Always check that the company you book your villa with is a Travel Agent or Real Estate agent and should belong and registered with either of the following in ibiza-Spain : AVIBA (tel: +34 971 722244), or API, ApIbiza (+37 971 1302911), AVAT (+34 971 302911), PIMEEF (+34 971 302911). Ibiza Luxory Destination (+34 971 302490). There are several local Turist Offices on the island here is the contact for the one based in the old town Tel: +34 971 399 232 email@example.com ECOIBIZA – displays on its website that it is registered with all the above, and confirmation can be received by calling any of the above numbers
Be cautious when paying by bank transfer as most fraudulent websites only ask for bank transfers, and once the money has been transferred into their account there is no way of getting it back. Never pay for a villa via bank transfer unless you are certain who you are paying and what it is for. The name of the company, travel agent or real estate agent should be displayed.
NOT ALL payments by credit card are card safe. If you pay by credit card you may have protection under section 75 of the credit card act which is only applicable in certain circumstances where the credit card company has a direct relationship with the supplier of your villa. Some scammers will allow you to pay by credit card but ask you to pay a 3rd party who takes credit cards, and then on your instructions that company will transfer the funds directly to an account the scammers have told you to send it to. In this instance the company you paid by credit card have done nothing wrong and your money is not protected.
Who are you actually paying? A fake website may have copied the legitimate details of a company, so when you check out the address and company details, even ATOL or ABTA, it all looks correct. But – the scammers ask you to “pay the owner directly” and send a transfer to an account that is in someone’s personal name, This is not normal and has nothing to do with the genuine company.
Check: If the website has only been set up recently. Use the domain name registration records on sites such as who.is (nominalia) and see when the websites were registered. If it was registered only a few months ago, yet they are claiming to have been established for many years, or show customer reviews before this date, then that is a big warning sign. BUT even if the domain name for the website was established many years ago, don’t be fooled they have been in business for a long time. The crooks can wait for an old domain name not being used to naturally expire, then apply to take it over, so it seems as if they have been trading for a long time.
Don’t be surprised if they appear at the top of Internet Search Engines. Many scammers pay companies like Internet Search Engines (“pay per click” advertisement campaigns”) to appear on page 1 on Internet Search Engines for common searches, such as “Mallorca Villas” “Canary Villas” etc. Internet Search Engines do try to help by removing these adverts, but unfortunately it can be a lengthy process before the scammers adverts are spotted and removed.
Contact numbers – some fake websites have no telephone numbers, or if they do they only have mobile numbers. Some display a “normal” telephone number but these tend to be non-area specific (the UK equivalent of a 0345 number), so you cannot see where they are located. Ask for a local telephone number to speak to them on and a scanned copy of their phone bill. None of the scammers want to give out a telephone number that establishes which location they are in.
Check their business address as some fake sites have no address, or the address they have given is made up. If in doubt look at the address on Google Street View, check if you can see the company sign, or if possible ask someone close to the address to confirm that they exist
Examine the site’s image because if this is a fake websites, all of the content on the site will be fake and taken from other legitimate sites. You can upload an image using Google image search of the villa and company employees to see if they have been copied from genuine sites. Some scammers will also “flip” the images over so they cannot be found on a search. Use the Flip A Picture website to “flip” the images horizontally over and then search for them. If you find them elsewhere please contact and question that company.
Money back guarantee! NO – Remember, everything on the website like this will be a lie.
Check reviews and Facebook and Trip Advisor Their own written “customer reviews” on their website can be instantly dismissed, and be wary of new Facebook pages with comments that cannot be checked. Look for well-established review sites such as TrustPilot or Revoo, but then also check the reviewers out. Have they all only done 1 review? Can you establish that the reviews are from genuine people? Search for the company name, website name and try to find them on Trip Advisor. Again, if you see any positive reviews check out the reviewers. Have they been on Trip Advisor a long time or did they only join recently? The scammers set up fake reviewers.
Lowest prices – too much availability. Do they have lots of peak season availability? Are the prices lower than you can find elsewhere? Start off by asking for something that is virtually impossible, for example a mid-week departure in peak season for a 17-night duration in a large villa. It would be highly, highly unlikely to be truly available.
ABTA Video Watch this video from ABTA for more information on how to avoid holiday fraud
Surely there cannot be many villa websites around making false claims! Well, we have found around 100 fake websites that were clearly making false claims and many of these are still active. Be careful not to confuse them with genuine companies that have similar names. The scammers try to use similar names and phrases used by genuine companies. Below are just a few examples of websites that have done this, it is not a complete list.
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