With the holiday season approaching, it’s time to start booking the ski chalet or hotel to stay in. This should be an exciting time as you pick out the ski resort and location of your holiday, but with fraudulent sites on the rise, it becomes stressful to make sure you are booking with a reputable company.
Over the years, fraudulent sites have been growing and more pop up each day. They have been scamming people into paying for chalets and then disappear. Or worse, the family arrives in the Alps for the holiday they have planned, and it is then they realize they have no place to stay and have been scammed out of thousands of pounds.
Many create websites that look very convincing and mimic other real companies’ layouts so they can appear as an authentic trusted site.
We want to give a few tips on how to spot scammers this winter and make sure you don’t lose money to them. Here are a few warning signs to look out for:
- Lower prices than the competition
- There will be availability for every week you want
- Websites that are modeled after real companies
- Websites created to look real, but are there just to scam
There have been hundreds of fraud chalet postings on airbnb. On of the key alerts is that the ‘owner’ will want you to email them personally instead of going through the website. Also, the ‘owner’ will want you to pay with a bank deposit vs paying through the website network. Always communicate and pay through the website.
The scammers will quote lower prices for high end chalets and hotels. Sometimes they quote per night when this is not even an option for that chalet. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
On the scammers websites, they will show availability for most weeks in the season. Also, when you email to ask them if xyz chalet is available for a certain week they will immediately reply yes. People who truly work in the business know that these chalets go fast and you must always double check the availability of a chalet before replying to a client. In addition, most peak weeks will already be filled. So if you are told that you are able to get a luxury chalet for 10 during New Years week and quoted a low price, be weary of the seller and website.
Scammers will take a real company’s website but make small tweaks that make it a little different from the original. Look out for the web address and make sure it is spelled correctly or is still .com/.co.uk and doesn’t change to something else such as .org.
There are many websites that are popping up that have clever company names and professional websites, you might not think twice about it being fraudulent. Always google the company to see if they come up other places- such as press articles (for real companies) or if they come up in articles as being a fraud site.
A few examples of the websites that look real, but are really fraud:
We spoke with one of the Directors Gerry Lovick at White Blancmange regarding this worrying problem hitting the internet world. She commented on her firsthand experience on the reality of this enormous situation which sadly has resulted in many families losing money and their holiday.
‘White Blancmange have received many phone calls over the last few years, from clients who have been offered chalets for a cheaper price. When we checked the chalets for these clients they had already been booked by another party, also the prices were too cheap. A chalet in Lech for the New Year was offered for £35,000 when this chalet actually sells for £95,000 per week…………..We at White Blancmange never work with a third party, we work directly with owners/operators so we confidently know what we are selling. I’m sadden to see these websites can be so easily produced but then thankfully closed down very quickly.’
Most of our clients come through recommendations and White Blancmange will always be happy to help in any way whether that be advice or your next holiday.
firstname.lastname@example.org OR call Gerry direct on +44 7939572003/+44 2032 392244