Owners Direct is reported to have been subject to a phishing attack after a villa owner’s email was hacked.
The attack promoted police to warn holidaymakers about internet fraudsters after a family lost £4,000 when they booked a Spanish villa found on the site.
Peter McConnell from Hastings paid for a week’s stay at the property in Mojacar in southern Spain. But when he came to confirm his arrival time with the owner, he discovered the payment had not been received.
The money was sent to identity thieves instead, the Mail on Sunday reported.
An Owners Director spokesman told the newspaper: “We are very sorry that Peter McConnell has been a victim of a security breach of an advertiser’s email account.
“We are working with him to resolve this issue.
“It is important to stress that did not occur on the Owners Direct website.”
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Websites where owners advertise directly to the consumer often request for the consumer to transfer money directly into their bank account. There is no protection in place for the consumer and there’s often large amounts of money involved making this kind of booking an attractive target for fraudsters.”
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau says that 1,000 cases of holiday fraud, worth £1.5 million were reported last year. But this is thought to be just the tip of the iceburg, the newspaper reported.