Scam and Fake Website crime is on the increase. More than ever before. We have seen it many times, particularly around this time of year with the build-up to the winter season.
There are many reputable and excellent web-based agencies who offer a fantastic service.
There are also many more chalet operators who actually run the chalets that are sold.
Sadly, there are a handful of quite high-profile FAKE Agencies. They mainly target unsuspecting potential holiday makers through social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
We know several victims of this crime, this fraud, these scams.
Our very own Kaluma chalets have been advertised on these websites and used to try and attract people enough to depart with chunky deposits. As soon as the deposit is paid, the website disappears, or reinvents itself with a different name, or no further contact is had with the holidaymaker.
Chalet Operators have fallen “victim” to this scam as well, when an unsuspecting skier, along with their whole family turn up unannounced at the chalet door. Of course expecting to be welcomed with open arms by their chalet hosts. Instead are told that they have no reservation, no booking and have indeed been a victim of a fraudulent website.
We take every precaution at Kaluma to protect potential clients from this. Our chalets have to be authorised to be on an agent’s website. If they are advertised with no authorisation (usually with a change of name) they are not legal or official.
As soon as we (Kaluma) are made aware of this, we report it immediately to the correct people. Web Security, Police Fraud Department etc.
Sadly there is very little the police, governing bodies, trade unions or anyone can do. UNTIL actual fraud has been committed. By which time of course it is too late.
HOW CAN THIS BE AVOIDED?
If a deal is too good to be true, your dream chalet is at an incredibly cheap price – it probably is too good to be true! SCAM
If you have found a great chalet, check the background on the agency you are using. If you can’t find any info, haven’t heard of them, it’s probably a SCAM.
Google or search for the name of the Chalet, if it doesn’t come up in a general search its most likely a SCAM.
If the search produces results and the chalet is featured on lots of sites it could well be legitimate (see points above).
If you can search the chalet and find the operator, the safest thing to do is to confirm the chalet, the website, the agent directly with the operator. These are the people who physically run the chalet.
We hope to have made you aware of the situation and truly hope none of our potential guests are scammed.
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