We have received information concerning fake villa rental booked on the Airbnb website. It appears that criminals are placing fake adverts using stolen photos of genuine properties.

People have paid deposits or the full price only to find the villa does not exist. Airbnb says it is ‘extremely rare’ for customers to lose money to fraudsters. It carries out checks to weed out fake listings and searches the internet to see if photos are duplicates.

However despite this there are cases where people have lost over £3000.  Under the site’s rules, users must arrange and pay for their holiday through its own messaging and payment system. This allows the firm to keep track of bookings and any money paid.

Always book via Airbnb’s messaging and payment system. If you don’t, the company won’t refund you.

Check that the website address begins with airbnb.com — anything else is a fake site.

Don’t respond to emails purporting to be from Airbnb that ask you to enter bank details or your address.

Avoid emails that urge you to act immediately to stop your account being disabled — these are scams.

If in doubt, report the owner to Airbnb.