CROMWELL, Conn. - Travel is gradually coming back. And that's great news for summer vacation plans... and scammers. BBB Scam Tracker
is receiving reports of con artists creating fake airline ticket booking sites or customer service numbers. If you are buying airfare, use caution and double-check the URL or phone number before providing your credit card information.
"It's also best to avoid broad search terms like "best travel deals" or "cheap travel" in order to avoid fraudulent websites trying to hook thrifty consumers," said Luke Frey, Associate Director of Communications for BBB Serving Connecticut.
How the Scam Works
While doing an online search for cheap flights, you come across what seems like a great deal with a major airline. You book the flight—either through the website or by calling a customer support number—and receive a confirmation message. However, when you look more closely at the email, you notice that you never actually received your ticket.
In another version of this scam, you book a flight on a travel website offering deals on airfare. You pay with your credit card like normal. But shortly after making the payment, you receive a call from the company saying that there's been a sudden price increase or an extra charge to finalize your booking. This is something a legitimate company would never do!
In either case, you call the airline to follow up about your flight. After talking to an agent, you find that they have no record of your booking. It turns out you accidentally purchased tickets through a scam website or a phony customer service number. One victim told BBB Scam Tracker
: "I received a phone call right after [I booked the flight] stating that they wanted $100 per passenger to finalize my flight." Then, after calling the airline to complain, the victim discovered that "the flight wasn't available to begin with. The flight was never booked... this company just charged my card."
How to Avoid Travel Scams