Number 1 rule – if it seems too good to be true it typically is. Search for same property on another site to compare – most properties are listed on numerous sites – the best website to check initially is obviously the chalets own website – in such an instance www.marmottemountain.com – if prices don’t match then it is pretty obvious the other site is a fake. If you can’t find the property on another site, it is generally because the fraudster has changed the name of the property and quite often the location too – so as to make it more difficult for people to find and compare – but almost all commercial rental properties are listed on many sites so if you can’t find the property elsewhere this should also be a big red flag. If you can obtain a copy of a photo of the property from the website, you can also search the internet by photo – https://images.google.com/
Number 2 rule – make sure any requested payments make sense – i.e. bank account is branded and in a country/city that makes sense and is compatible with what the website says and with phone number / address of the business and chalet. Most rental companies should also accept various payment methods such as CC / bank transfer etc – if someone insists on one type of payment only, beware.
Number 3 rule – if in doubt, have a phone call with the sale’s person and ask questions about the chalet and the local ski area/attractions. A fraudster will either not be available by phone or will know very little, if anything, about the chalet/resort.
Number 4 rule – check the dates of social media posts – if the rental company has been operating for many years then they are typically legitimate – fraudulent companies close down as soon as possible after they open up for obvious reasons so their social media posts won’t have a long history.
Number 5 rule – do an internet check on the business registration number of the company/person renting their property – any commercial venture will need to be registered and in France all companies are searchable by name and registration number on-line. In the example of Marmotte Mountain Adventure, you can check the following link – Marmotte Mountain Adventure Business Registration
If you stick with these basic principles then it is pretty straight forward to see who is legitimate and who is not.
Also, if you go straight to the chalet company rather than thru an on-line sales agent, then the chalet company actually receives the full payment rather than having to pay out commissions for the referral – and this always helps the actual person who is running the operation and goes directly into the operation where you will be staying which in turn helps them give you a better experience.
For an up to date list of fraudulent websites recently discovered, you can check the following link; List of Fraudulent Rental Websites