TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Airline travel is back in full swing, but scammers are taking advantage of increased flight cancellations with a new con.
BBB Scam Tracker received multiple reports of scammers creating fake airline ticket booking sites or customer service numbers to charge travelers for rescheduling fake flights.
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. However, shortly after making the payment, you receive a call from the company saying there’s been a sudden price increase or an extra charge to finalize your booking. It turns out that you accidentally purchased tickets through a scam website or a phony customer service number. The price increase is a way to get more money out of you.
In another version of the scam, your original flight was real, but the cancellation notice is fake. You get an email or text message claiming that your upcoming flight has been canceled and you need to rebook. When you call the number provided, the “airline” offers to book you a new ticket – for a price. However, if you follow up with real airline support, you’ll discover that nothing was wrong with your original flight. The message was a scam, and you just gave your credit card details to a con artist.
VICTIM STORY: “I thought that I bought airline tickets with United Airlines through a company that sells at discounted prices. They called me shortly after I bought my tickets and said that the flight had been canceled. They wanted permission to put me on another flight with Southwest and said it would be 80 dollars extra… It turned out that United Airlines never canceled a flight. I tried to call this company and leave a message, and I tried to email them to no avail. It turns out that the airlines were unaware of this ticket purchase.”
BBB provides the following tips on avoiding travel scams:
- Do your research. Check BBB.org for reviews and feedback.
- Double check flight details before calling support.
- Confirm the URL before you enter personal and payment information.
- Be wary of third party websites.
- Make online purchases with your credit card.
- Consider using a travel agent.
For ways to protect yourself from travel scams, go to BBB travel page. If you’ve been a victim of an airline ticket or other travel scam, please report your experience to BBB Scam Tracker. By doing so you can help others avoid falling prey to scammers.