Scammers Scam BC Residents With Cheap Flight Deals

Thinking of getting a good deal on your next vacation?

Before you rush into booking your next flight, you might want to do some research first.

As travel restrictions are relaxed in British Columbia and Canada, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​warns that scammers will look for opportunities to take advantage of eager travelers.

The BBB says it has received reports on BBB Scam Tracker of scammers using fake flight booking sites or fake customer service numbers to deceive consumers. If you book a flight, be careful and check the URL or phone number before providing any information, a press release explains.

How does the scam work?

See a deal too good to be true? It may be fair.

After looking for cheap flights, a person can book what they think is a “good deal” with a reputable airline. And when they book that flight, whether it’s through the website or the customer support number they found, they get a confirmation message.

But when they carefully examine the email, they notice that they don’t have a ticket, nor can they connect with anyone to fix the issue afterwards.

The BBB indicates that in numerous reports, “consumers have indicated that details of the travel itinerary, boarding passes and usual links for travelers to check-in, change or cancel the flight were missing “. Travelers trying to make changes to existing flights also came across “bogus websites and phone numbers.”

In another version of this scam, you book a flight on a travel website with deals on airline tickets and pay with your credit card. However, shortly thereafter you receive a call from the company informing you that there was a sudden price increase or additional charge to finalize your reservation. This is something a legitimate business would never do.

Either way, you eventually connect with a legitimate airline customer service agent and find they have no record of your booking. It turns out that you accidentally purchased tickets through a scam website or fake customer service number.

People think they are talking directly to the airline

BBB spokesperson Karla Laird said Vancouver is awesome that consumers are convinced that they are talking to a legitimate travel agent of an airline.

“This is the part that worries me,” she said.

“They don’t need [the airline]… that leads them to this scammer who explains all these details to them which suggests that they are either in the process of making adjustments to a flight that has already been booked or booking a new flight. “

The information collected by the crooks includes personal information and credit card details, she said. Hundreds of dollars have been ripped off by people.

A victim told the BBB that she “received a phone call right after [I booked the flight] stating that they wanted $ 100 per passenger to finalize it. Then, after calling the airline to complain, I found out that the flight was not available on departure. The flight was never booked … this company just debited my card. ”

How to Avoid Flight Booking Scams

The BBB has provided the following tips for avoiding theft scams in the future.

  • Do your research. If you come across a company that you’ve never done business with before, research it before making any purchases. Search for reviews and comments from previous customers.

  • Beware of customer service numbers found online. If possible, go directly to the airline or travel agency’s website for details on contacting customer service. If you’ve purchased a flight from them before, check your email for the latest messages you’ve received, which should include their contact details.

  • Check the URL before entering your personal and payment information. It can be easy to click on a sponsored ad or impostor website without noticing. Before entering sensitive information, make sure you are on the correct website and that the link is secure.

  • Beware of third-party websites. Some websites appear to be offering a legitimate service, but are just fronts for a scam. Beware of websites without a working customer service number and without a physical address. Typos and grammatical errors can also be indications of a crook’s work.

  • Shop online with your credit card. Fraudulent charges made to a credit card can usually be disputed, while it might not be the case with other payment methods. Unfortunately, there is no way to recover the personal information you have shared.