Holidays bought on Snapchat turn into a scam – Defense-92.fr

The good deal was actually a nice scam. To book your vacation, it is customary to go through physical or online travel agencies such as Expedia, Booking or Airbnb. To pay less for their holidays, some thought they had the good idea to go through Snapchat, as revealed by Le Parisien.

On the social network (but also Instagram) the ads are attractive. The Valbuenux Travel agency, managed by Mathieu Melek, a resident of Nanterre, offers trips at very attractive prices to dream destinations such as Egypt, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates or Zanzibar in Tanzania. To attract customers, the young entrepreneur uses “influencers” such as Miss Serbia, Sisikofficiel and Habituetoi. These pseudo-influencers ensure that “There is no carrot”, that it is a “hyper square tourist agency” and that Mathieu Melek is “the guy for you”. Something to convince some.

Screenshot of the Instagram page of the Valbuenux Travel agency – DR

To sell its turnkey holidays, the Valbuenux agency communicates with its customers only on Snapchat. To pay, everything is also done online. But the dream vacation quickly turned into a nightmare. Because necessarily booking your vacation on Snapchat through a stranger was not a good idea at all. The daily recently revealed the testimony of one of the 150 families who were victims of this scam. “We were scammed and there are many of us in this case”, confides Farah to the Parisian.

Farah as a couple with three children pays 4,500 euros all inclusive for a ten-day stay in a four-star hotel in Hurghada, Egypt. It is a nephew of the family who recommends this offer below normal prices from a “guy from Nanterre”. D-Day, first disappointment for the family. The flight is delayed for two days. But Farah isn’t really worried as much as Snapchat’s travel agent offers them four extra nights on top. But it is upon arriving there that the nightmare will begin. The promised hotel is not the one where the family is taken. After four days Farah is contacted by the hotel reception who announces the check-out and asks to pay the bill.

Échaudée Farah then contacted Mathieu Melek, who was also present in Egypt. The mother of the family relies on the French embassy, ​​files a complaint with the tourist police and calls on an Egyptian lawyer. The man imprisoned during the investigation refused during a confrontation to compensate his victim. Because Farah’s slate becomes dizzying: nearly 8,600 euros to pay for the hotel and buy return plane tickets. Back in France, Farah filed a new complaint at the police station in Champigny (94).

Still according to Le Parisien, the local French consulate would have counted between August 21 and 30 forty-two victims of the small company Valbuenux. A scam that does not only concern Egypt. According to the latest counts, no less than 150 families have been defrauded for various destinations.

What annoy some who have decided to do justice themselves. The Valbuenux company created in February 2022 being real, it is very easy to find its address on sites like Company.com. And the address is none other than Nanterre, very close to the prefecture, not far from La Défense. The travel agency 2.0 is located in the home of Mathieu Melek’s family.

In a series of short videos, the supposed sister of the man asks the victims to “separate things”. Because the door of the family living in a HLM residence is vandalized, says the sister of Mathieu Melek. The family gets scared and flees. “We left everything, our comfort and our whole life because of Mathieu’s actions. Today I am really afraid for my parents and my family, ”she says. And the woman tries to put out the fire by giving praise to her family. “For those who know us, you know very well that we have always respected people. We have always been appreciated by everyone,” she said, sobbing, claiming to have been “aware of nothing” of her brother’s actions. “We would never, ever allow something like this to happen. We are not involved. We are really sorry,” she added.

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Holidays bought on Snapchat turn into a scam – Defense-92.fr