Two charged with Web fraud

Police launched an investigation into several holiday-related Web sites, following complaints from the public

Two people are to appear in court in London on Monday to face accusations that they attempted to defraud holidaymakers over the Internet.

Evangela Liogka, aged 38, and Christakis Philippou, aged 62, are both due to appear at City of Westminster magistrates court, charged with conspiracy to defraud. Both are resident in London.

The couple were were arrested on Saturday by Metropolitan Police, who were investigating a holiday Web site fraud. According to reports, over 3,000 UK citizens have fallen victim to a scam involving fraudulent Internet sites.

The Metropolitan Police wasn't able to give further details of the alleged offences, but it has published a warning that it is investigating five Web sites. These are www.sunmedresorts.com, www.unbeatableholidays.com, www.holidayrez.com, www.holidaysforunder200pounds.com and ww.holidayez.com. On Monday, only the last two sites were working.

It's understood that the Office of Fair Trading has been working with the Metropolitan Police on the investigation, after its Consumer Direct arm received several complaints from people who had paid for holidays that never materialised.

The Association of British Travel Agents has recommended that people check its own Web site or that of other affiliated organisations to make sure any holiday firm is legitimate before handing over money.

Earlier this summer, the Attorney General warned that UK police are failing to protect and support businesses and individuals who suffer Internet fraud, as many people don't even know how to report such a crime.

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