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Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve

Loule, Portugal
Level Contributor
3,267 posts
295 reviews
210 helpful votes
Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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Met a family in Albufeira today who booked a bogus holiday through PT Villas Algarve, website ptvillasalgarve.com. Photos and details of the villa had been copied off another website, the company office address is a hotel in Albufeira and the phone number is not Portuguese, it is for Guinea-Bissau in West Africa! The website is also apparently hosted in Russia. The family paid by bank transfer and were sent a link to the villa and Google maps, no further information. They tried phoning the last 4 days and could not reach anyone, so realised that they had probably been scammed. They are obviously devastated, they have lost all their hard-earned money and their holiday is in ruins.

I found this family in a taxi, in my street. After they left to go stay in a hotel for the night, I studied the photos carefully and found the villa in question. I rang the doorbell and the owners, who are resident in the villa answered the door and were shocked to find their villa advertised on a fraudulent site. They showed me that their villa is advertised on Holiday Lettings for the summer only and this is where ‘PT Villas Algarve’ got their details.

To anyone booking a holiday, not just in the Algarve but anywhere in the world, please do your homework first before handing over your hard-earned cash, as there is too much online fraud around. Check that the company has proper contact details, not just a contact form but full address, phone numbers and if in the UK, a company registration number. Check that there are reviews online, not just their website but on TripAdvisor, Google and other forums. 5 Reviews on Facebook? Anyone can do that. 25 or 50 Reviews, far more legit. Don't also assume that a private renter is who they say they are. Again, do your research. Rather pay more money and know what you are getting and ensure that you have local management support. You never know when you will need assistance. Who will meet you? How will you get the key?

If you pay by credit card, you will get protection through the credit card company but if you pay by bank transfer, you lose everything. Some companies charge an admin fee for card payments, to cover their costs and sometimes, it is worth paying that little bit more, for peace of mind.

Also, please note that now that I have 'outed' this company, as soon as they find out, they will change the name of their website and pop-up with another name. The fact that they have over 30 properties does not give them credibility, they are all fake.

Somerset, United...
Level Contributor
1,749 posts
22 reviews
14 helpful votes
1. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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The sitecstill up and is almost identical to other scam sites that have been reported., almost word for word.

East Anglia, United...
Level Contributor
11,804 posts
89 reviews
188 helpful votes
2. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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Have to agree again with Terry (getting scary now) but the site is identical to two previous scam sites, relaxinalgarve.com and VillasXLDA. This one should also be reported to Action Fraud. Previous threads.......

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g3856572-i28609-k11334320-Relax_in_Algarve-Faro_District_Algarve.html

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g189115-i1427-k11354651-Villas_in_Carvoeiro-Carvoeiro_Faro_District_Algarve.html

Edited: 3 years ago
Somerset, United...
Level Contributor
1,749 posts
22 reviews
14 helpful votes
3. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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Despite being asked why, no one who has fallen for them ever comes back and tells us why they booked with them rather than the established reputable sites..

Does it simply come down to price, do they offer villas at prices lower than can be found elsewhere. .

East Anglia, United...
Level Contributor
11,804 posts
89 reviews
188 helpful votes
4. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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One of the villas advertised is close to mine and is being advertised at a much lower rate than on the genuine well known site, that it has been cloned from.

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro, Portugal
Level Contributor
70,269 posts
59 reviews
65 helpful votes
5. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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"Does it simply come down to price, do they offer villas at prices lower than can be found elsewhere. ."

Almost certainly. The obsession some people have with price clouds judgment as to decent and proper service.

Turcifal, Portugal
Level Contributor
5,384 posts
49 reviews
40 helpful votes
6. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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My question is why has this not been reported to ASAE/GNR?

It is against the law to rent out vacation properties without being registered on the Turismo do Portugal registry and displaying that number on the individual sites.

There is now sufficient legal information and recourse available in Portugal that this should not happen.

If the rental site does not have local office with a Portuguese NIF(TAX) number and address displayed, and/or not displaying the legal AL number for the property DON´T touch the property!

Turcifal, Portugal
Level Contributor
5,384 posts
49 reviews
40 helpful votes
7. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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Agree totally!

Don´t go on holiday if you really can't afford it!!!!!

Somerset, United...
Level Contributor
1,749 posts
22 reviews
14 helpful votes
8. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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I have been checking the Carvoeiro listings to see if there are any on there I recognise.

Loule, Portugal
Level Contributor
3,267 posts
295 reviews
210 helpful votes
9. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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Nice work guys! This happened very late yesterday and I only found the villa and owners last night, so doing what I can barlaventoexpert and I knew you guys would be a good starting point| The family went straight to the GNR to report it and I am about to email details to David Thomas at Safe Communities Algarve. He will pass on the information to ASAE. Shall I get the guests to report directly to Action Fraud themselves? I was also going to try report to Google. BTW, nice to see familiar names popping up, it's been a while!

Dubai, United Arab...
1 post
2 reviews
10. Re: Beware Villa Scam - bogus company - PT Villas Algarve
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I went on APS Gestao Villas website and made an inquiry about the availability of one of their villas ( Villa Cava). They immediately came back saying it was available and they would send me an email with the details for a bank transfer. The fact the site had all the usual icons for Visa / MasterCard etc the bank transfer request raised huge suspicion. I tried to research the villa and company details and found nothing.I then saw that APS mirrors all of the content on PT Villas. I guess this is another scam clone .

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