CHALET FRAUD GROWS
30th October 2017 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on June 2nd, 2020
New fake websites and social media accounts selling non-existent ski holidays have sprung up since PlanetSKI’s recent investigation.
We have been alerted to a number of new scam sites and another professional-looking Facebook page set up to con skiers and snowboarders into handing over money for luxury accommodation.
The fraudsters lift descriptions of the properties and photos from genuine chalet operators and agents.
Read our earlier story with full details of the PlanetSKI investigation:
We have been told that one chalet in Val d’Isere owned by a British company has just appeared for rent on the Belgian Airbnb site.
The owners are contacting Airbnb.
PlanetSKI has just been on the BBC to talk about the problem.
You can listen to the interview on the Radio 4 consumer programme, You and Yours, on the link below.
It is 14’30” into the programme, or you can scroll down the page to go direct to the item labelled Chalet Fraud.
Andy Castle, the Managing Director of the travel agent Ski In Luxury, has been tracking the development of this season’s new fake websites and social media accounts, including one that appeared for the first time on 25th October.
He reports that there are at least six currently operating, two of them with Facebook pages.
He suspects many are the work of the same fraudsters.
“I can only once again stress, do not believe everything you see,” he says in his latest blog.
“The fraud ski websites still have to dangle that enticing carrot to get the public to bite into one of these scam ski deals.
“They continue to offer deals that are quite simply too good to be true.
“However, I believe that won’t continue to be the case. They will try to aid their legitimate façade by eventually offering the same chalets at either the same prices as they should be marketed, or just a fraction under.
“It is at this time that the potential for financial loss will grow even more concerning. It could well be that the few thousands lost will become a few hundred thousands.
“I guess though that this might be avoided by the scammers as then it would place them firmly in the eyes of the fraud police.
“How far dare they push it? We can but hope that one day their karma will come.”
Andy Castle’s blog also includes his Top 5 tips to avoid becoming a victim.