Ski Chalet Fraud - The Epidemic of Scam Ski Websites

Fri October 27, 2017 by Andy Castle
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In December 2016 last year I wrote an article on “How to Spot Fraud and Scam Ski Websites” on our sister website Ultimate Luxury Chalets. I pointed out the top 10 tips to enable you to discover when a “business” is looking to lure you into booking a fraudulent ski chalet holiday.

It seems as though my tips to spot fraud have been taken on board by these scammers and they have now developed some more intuitive and professional looking websites with the launch of a number of new scam ski websites popping up once again at the perfect time of year when skiers are considering booking their next luxury ski holiday.

I can only once again stress, do not believe everything you see. 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.

Due to the continued use of the same website frameworks, content, logos, and a few other stand out points, it seems to me that there could well be just one or a handful of people that are creating these sites. If they can get found then I hope that our industry can recover from their damage and be rid of their plague.

The latest fraud ski websites in Sept/Oct 2017

Let’s take a look at a summary of some of the latest fraud ski websites and some hints on what you can look out for in order to spot a fraud ski website….

 

PLEASE DO NOT TRUST ANY OF THE BELOW SCAM SKI WEBSITES!

WHITEALPSCHALETS.COM

  • Currently this is the big one to watch out for!
  • Google adword campaigns for all key phrases to ensure they come up on the first page. They are even appearing for the search term “Ski In Luxury”! See below a screenshot…..proof to trust only those that are at the top of the organic Google listings!

ALPINESCHALETS.COM

ALPSEXCLUSIVE.COM

  • Yet another carbon copy of the WhiteAlpsChalets, PremiumSwissChalets and LuxuryAlps websites! Proof that they just move from one domain to the next and continue to avoid tracking.

TOPLUXURYCHALETS.COM

ALPINELUXURY.EU

PREMIUMSWISSCHALETS.COM

  • Correct chalet names being used
  • Photos can now be searched by Google in an attempt to aid legitimacy
  • Text can be copied and searched – the text uses matches that of Premium Switzerland for copy and Luxury Retreats for chalets, two websites that have been long established in the industry.
  • “How To Find Us” – apparently they are based Latvia…..but registered in Arizona! And with a Swiss telephone number?! Hmmm……

CHALETSONEALPS.COM

  • Using the same logo and framework as a scam ski website from last December, “French Alps Rentals” as displayed in our blog from last year on fraud ski websites.

LUXURYALPS.NET AND LUXURYCHALETS.CO

  • Two identical websites – showing that they are happy to set up multiple “capture” platforms.

SKI-LUX.COM

Fraud Social Media Ski Accounts

“Premium Swiss Chalets” Facebook page was created on the 11th September 2017 and has somehow amassed over 12,000 likes. We have been on Facebook for as long as I can remember and have around 5,600 self generated “likes”.

“Luxury Alps” Facebook page was created 2 days ago, on the 25th October 2017. Already they are on 685 likes already! Their posts are duplicate to those of the Premium Swiss Chalets page. Further showing that the scams are being set up by the same person or group of people.

It appears that the scammers are targeting a demographic through paid promotion of their page which is incredibly easy to do and at very little cost outlay. They create these “incredible offers” and “chance to win” posts in order to encourage user interaction, comments and sharing. This is a newly seen tactic and it seems to be paying dividends.

I made a comment to warn their followers on their Facebook page on a thread with many comments on. A few were lucky enough to spot my comment and got in touch before they got scammed but my comment now deleted and I have been banned from their page.

I have tried to report the page to Facebook on multiple occasions and have even been involved in a chat with a member of the “customer service” team at Facebook who have told me they are unable to do anything. Is this just another instance of huge multinationals not seeming to care about the effect of those who are using their platform for fraud? How far do things need to go before it creates a big problem for them with their users not being able to trust what they see on their platform?

TOP TIPS FOR SPOTTING FRAUD SKI WEBSITES

 

Fraud Tip # 1

Consider strongly whether to trust social media platform businesses that are freshly set up, especially those with a considerable number of followers. Consider before sharing or commenting on the posts from these accounts as ultimately, the more that you spread it, the worse that it will become. Social media has been such an integral part of an online ski agency business in recent years that everyone who is legitimate should have a long-established account, be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media platform.

Fraud Tip # 2

Check a company name on Google to ensure it comes up on the business listings. Any established companies will have made the effort to do so.

Fraud Tip # 3

Check for a blog/news section. Those who know and care about their industry will be creating engaging, unique content regularly for their blogs to encourage further following.

Fraud Tip # 4

Only trust renowned and established agencies. We have been running now for 12 years. We are widely regarded as the best in the luxury ski agency business. We would never work with any companies or owners who are not legitimate and trustworthy. It is our reputation at stake. Trust in our word. We are doing all we can within our powers to stop these scam ski websites from taking money from unsuspecting clients.

Fraud Tip # 5

Trust in companies that can demonstrate a significant history of accolades and press. We have a vast number of articles that have been written about us by recognised media and have been nominated as one of the World’s Best Ski Travel Agents at the prestigious World Ski Awards now for the past 4 years. Fraud companies won’t be able to boast as such. Check out some of Ski In Luxury’s press coverage.

 

I hope this blog helps the unwitting public to pick up on these fraud ski websites and their updated tactics being used to tempt in “business”. A few other interesting recent articles on ski chalet fraud can be found on WeLoveToSki and PlanetSki.

If you see or hear of any new fraud ski websites then please do drop us an email so that we can add them to the list!

Be vigilant and don’t become a victim of ski chalet fraud!

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