The rise of fake hotels is a phenomenon that has left both consumers and OTAs frustrated and out of pocket.
In recent months, the travel industry has witnessed a tidal wave of fake chalet websites, with one website, Alps-stay.com, conning unsuspecting holiday-makers out of tens of thousands of euros.
It’s no wonder fraudsters are targeting consumers booking holidays – hotels in Europe saw an increase in bookings of 6% in 2017 compared to 2016. However, it’s not just consumers suffering the monetary blows, OTAs are too.
How? A fraudster will list a fake hotel and then use stolen credit cards to make a booking via the OTA’s website. The OTA will then receive chargebacks for bookings after making a payment to the fake hotel. By this point, the fraudster will have withdrawn all the funds paid by the OTA and won’t respond to any contact attempts, leaving the OTA with a financial loss.