Crooks are already swindling some festival goers with fake accomodation deals.
Anybody who’s ever been to Cannes knows that it’s a magnet for crooks, pickpockets and charlatans. I once had my wallet lifted from my jacket as I walked down the Croisette, and over the years friends and colleagues have had to deal with intruders in their hotel rooms (even at the Hotel du Cap!), stolen passports, bags, money and clothes, plus other con artists of every kind.
For the past several years, internet site hawking non-existent accomodations have been a huge problem.
It was with dismay that I heard my first horror story from this year — a UK producer friend of mine has become the victim in the latest Cannes scam involving accommodation. I must say I have noticed an increase in the unsolicited emails I get from companies offering stunning apartments, villas and houses just minutes from the Croisette (ie in Juan-les-Pins!).
My friend contacted one such company called Euro-Events which had a co.uk address but was registered in the US. It listed telephone and fax numbers in both the US and in France (an “09” number used by IP services). He booked an apartment with a colleague and the two wired €1800 each to the Euro-Events website (now shuttered). “John” contacted them to thank them for their custom and promised that the Euro-Events Concierge Department would contact them shortly with more details.
Alas, that was the last they ever heard from Euro-Events. As it dawned on them that they had been conned and the phone numbers they had previously used were suddenly out of order, the two desperately tried to claw back the cash had gone to a bank in Chicago. “The recipient refused to return the money,” they were told, and indeed the Chicago account is still active. My friend is doing all he can to bring the brigands to justice and that includes calls placed to the Fraud Squad in London and the FBI.
By the way, there is a legitimate company called Euro Events (sans hyphen) which should not be tarred with the same criminal brush as its near namesake.
The lesson here is beware. In your haste to secure decent, convenient and affordable accommodation for Cannes, make sure that the company you go to comes recommended or validated by people you know. It’s bad enough endeavouring to avoid theft while you’re in Cannes itself (including the inflated restaurant menus), the last thing you need is being ripped off before you even get there.
If anyone has warnings from past scams feel free to leave notes in the comments here.