AVOID those scammers in 2016!

The private rental market for holidays is a steadily growing one... unfortunately - this is attracting all sorts of scamming attempts - some fairly realistic & others are just laughable attempts .... BUT: their only intention is to make a "quick buck" & Guests are still being "caught out" which = no holiday & waving goodbye to their hard-earned cash ....

Follow ETK's guidelines to STAY SAFE with your holiday booking, regardless of WHO you are booking through:

Holiday Scams - How do they work?

Basically, the Holiday Home(s) will be advertised - usually on social media sites, Gumtree or Ebay with the one & only intention of obtaining your hard-earned cash, which will then result in leaving you with no holiday. (Do bear in mind that even some of the bigger & more well known internet-based Holiday Lettings Agencies DO NOT ask for proof of Ownership before a listing is accepted, so if the Scammer is willing to pay listing fees, it's easy to place an ad there too.)

When you "book" - you faithfully pay your deposit, or even the entire balance to the Scammer & they will then calmly vanish - taking your money with them.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes take a while before you even realise you have been "scammed" & by that time, it may be too late to recover any funds paid. It has not been uncommon for families to arrive on the site, with a car full of holiday luggage + excited kids in tow - to be informed on arrival that the Holiday Home they have "booked" simply doesn't exist.

  • The Scammer won't own a Holiday Home at all
  • The photos & descriptions shown will be copied & pasted from a genuine advert(s)
  • The Scammer has booked from a genuine Owner & re-sells the dates at a higher price (effectively sub-letting which is not permitted by genuine Owners)

Protect Yourselves - What to look out for: 


  • The Scammer's pricing will be very low compared with other genuine Holiday Homes in the area, especially on peak dates, (school holidays!) 
  • There will be lots of available dates (again, especially in peak season), as the Scammer will obviously just be selling as many dates as possible, (over & over again), to obtain your cash
  • They will be vague on specific details - for both the Holiday Home & the site
  • They will give very short answers to any of your questions, or answer them incorrectly: One very recent scammer was asked how near their caravan was to the Burger King restaurant on site - replied that it was a 2min-walk away ....   there is NO Burger King restaurant on that particular Holiday Park! (& usually their grammar leaves a lot to be desired!) - or, if you ask "too many questions", they will state that they will "get back to you" (which never happens!)
  • You receive a "cold-call" private message from the Scammer - usually they trawl the Holiday-Home groups - & will contact you privately when they see you asking, rather than commenting in public on your thread - which has a higher risk of being "detected" by the genuine Owners! 
  • They will be unwilling to give full details (name, home address, telephone number) - or the details you are given will prove to be false at a later date.  
  • They will refuse to give you details to be able to contact the site & confirm Ownership, or give you excuses as to why this cannot be done, (please be aware that some Holiday Parks will not give Owner details or even confirm them via a telephone call due to Data Protection.) 
  • There will be few photos of the Holiday Home & the quality can be below standard (as they are usually copied & pasted from the genuine advert.)  Sometimes the Scammer will use various photographs from different Holiday Homes & try to pass it off as one Holiday Home... sometimes the pictures of the site will not actually be the site the Scammer states the Holiday Home is on
  • They will require immediate payment of either deposit, entire balance, or both
  • No paperwork will be issued.
  • If you ask "too many questions" - they will "block" you from their profiles, or ignore your messages.
  • Their profiles will be relatively new, with little detail on them.
  • Their profile photo is false or indescript (usually a happy catalogue person, or flowers, animals etc.) 
  • If you ask for feedback from previous guests, those "guests" will most probably be on the Scammer's "friend-list" (which will be a limited number of people, as the profile has been set up purely to scam...)

How to avoid the Scammers:

More & more GENUINE Owners are using "verified" sites to advertise - whereby Proof of Ownership has been provided. Look out for these when you book. However, also be aware that social media "verified" groups are not governed by the Data Protection Act at all - as are run by individuals, not a company, so their "verified" status:- in reality, means very little.   

For 2016: Verification is a prerequisite for all ETK Owners, each Owner is given 14 days to provide this information to the Management Team & if this is not supplied, the listing is removed from our site until it is received. So look out for the rather distinctive ETK Verification Badges & be assured in the knowledge that you are booking safely! 

The private rental market for holidays is a steadily growing one... unfortunately - this is attracting all sorts of scamming attempts - some fairly realistic & others are just laughable attempts .... BUT: their only intention is to make a "quick buck" & Guests are still being "caught out" which = no holiday & waving goodbye to their hard-earned cash ....

Follow ETKs guidelines to STAY SAFE with your holiday booking, regardless of WHO you are booking through:



  • Unless it is the beginning of the season, or the owner states they have only just started to rent, take a close look at the availability.  If there are lots of available dates, ask why
  • Look CAREFULLY at the ads - the way they are worded & what photos are shown.  If there are any of the site itself, check that out on the site's official website (just Google the site name!)
  • Be wary of a "cold call" private message! Genuine owners will not contact you, unless you have contacted them first, or it will be in response to a query you have submitted on one of the Holiday Home groups - but be aware that this is where the Scammers hide too so remember these tips when responding to any messages.....
  • If you are asked for any money at all "up front" without any mention of paperwork - be prepared & be wary. Although some owners still work in this way, it's not recommended best practice, especially with the increase in holiday-scams, so be vigilant. Some scammers will ask for your money up front and you will never hear from them again, you will probably work out if an owner is more genuine by researching them carefully first. Nowadays, it's more common for genuine owners to provide you with at least booking forms, BEFORE any money exchanges hands, even if it is a "late booking", however some still insist on money first: so they are not wasting their time with *false* bookings and getting paperwork ready for nothing. Just use your common sense!
  • If the paperwork you receive looks "shoddy" or "cobbled together" - it most probably is! This is why ETK offers a full Document Service, available to both ETK & non-ETK members - which provides quality & professional rental documents tailored to the Owner's requirements.
  • If the price quoted seems very "cheap" - be wary ("peak" dates especially) - check the actual Holiday Park's website & get a feel for what they are charging...  private rents ARE usually cheaper than site rentals, but not excessively.
  • A usual holiday-deposit is between £50 & £100 per booking - a genuine owner will NEVER ask for more than that!
  • Make SURE you have the owner’s home details + a contact number – NEVER book unless you are given these - (you can always Google them, look them up on the electoral roll etc so you can be sure they are who they say they are.)
  • Make sure you are issued with a receipt for every payment you make.
  • Genuine owners will reserve dates on the required deposit & will give you a payment due date, which the balance must be paid by. If you are asked to pay the entire cost in one hit, QUERY IT. (Unless it is a "late deal" - & in which case, a genuine owner will still provide paperwork BEFORE you pay anything!)
  • Make sure you are familiar with all the Terms & Conditions of your booking & are happy with them. If you are not given any, ASK WHY.
  • If you are unhappy or uneasy at all with anything - ask questions. A genuine owner will answer them!
  • If you want to check ownership, ask the advertiser for the site office number & relevant details to quote - so the site can confirm the person you are dealing with IS the genuine owner. If these details are refused - be prepared to walk awayBe aware though: a good number of Holiday Parks are now no longer permitted to give specific details to you (due to Data Protection), but they should be able to confirm if the person you are dealing with IS or ISN'T an Owner if you can supply the name, (usually the Owner will need to call the park first to inform them to expect your call.) The details you are given by the Owner should NEVER be FULL account details - as this is yet another scam:  a "potential" guest asks for these details to verify ownership & then uses them to scam others!
  • Most genuine owners will be able to put you in contact with a previous client if necessary (after gaining permission obviously), so you can find out more from someone who has actually stayed at the Holiday Home.
  • Check for feedback either on the owner's FB page or  website (ie guestbook pages.)

Please ask other Owners if you are unsure about anything (BEFORE YOU PAY!) - there are plenty of Holiday Home groups on the social media sites & genuine Owners will always be more than happy to advise

So if in doubt: SHOUT!

If there is anything you are unhappy with... DON'T BOOK