LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) — Scammers are targeting traveling consumers with the summer months around the corner.
Imagine the final arrangements for a trip are complete when an unexpected situation comes up or you’re at the airport getting ready to board the plane and your flight is cancelled or delayed. That’s what’s happening to some consumers who’ve been scammed by third party companies when booking a trip.
“We know people and consumers are traveling a lot more during the summer and scammers know that so seizing that opportunity that they like to do, we’ve found out that they’ve created fake advertisements for airlines and different travel agencies online,” explained Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana. “That way if you’re in the airport, maybe your flight got cancelled, you’re looking to reschedule something different, you google real quick to find a good phone number to call.”
You call the number and the customer service rep who answers claims to be with the affiliated airline, but that’s not the case.
Babin said, “It turns out to be a scammer on the other end who’s taking financial information from you, changing your flight, updating your credentials and everything for you. Come to find out it was a scammer and didn’t actually take place with the airline at all.”
The scammer explains the change in travel plans and once confirming, an agreement of re-booking fees that are twice what the original airline ticket cost is sent over for a signature. The document is signed, the fee is paid, and the transaction goes through.
“Anytime that you get contacted unsolicited through some type of agency, any type of organization, and they need payment information right away for something that you weren’t clear that was taking place, we encourage you to verify that they are actually with the agency that they’re supposed to be with, that you reference your confirmation number, that you reference the receipts that had in the past because scammers are known to pretend that there’s processing fees or different things that they need you to pay for,” added Babin.
When booking a trip, the BBB has the following tips:
- Verify the booking site. Before purchasing tickets, read all the fine print, cancellation policies and refund policies.
- Check the website security. Look for the https:// at the top of the website in the search bar before entering any personal or financial information.
- Keep documentation. Save copies of confirmation messages, email communication, texts, anything related to the transaction.
- Research the airline. See if they use third party booking sites and compare flights and prices.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.