A warning has been issued about an increasing amount of online fraud involving websites offering apparently cheap deals for flights.

The National Fraud Authority told the Sunday Times that it has had 150 frauds reported to it since January.

The sites are said to illegitimately claim to be members of trade body Abta or to have an Atol licence from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The sites are understood to use a variety of methods to defraud customers including using stolen credit cards, making payments with customers’ cards and then cancelling or issuing fake tickets.

Abta warned that these sites can disappear as quickly as they appear and urged customers to check the validity of any sites’ Abta or Atol numbers online before booking.

The Sunday Times said the increasingly prevalent scam comes in the wake of its investigation into similar criminal activity in the villa rental market.