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Better Business Bureau Warns of Airfare Scams

Airfare Scams

Dying to travel all year? Don’t fall victim to fraud. 

More than 100 million Americans have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and many are ready to get back out and travel. GEM Journal reported the domestic airline industry is predicted to return to normal by early next year thanks to a rapid vaccine rollour. Unfortunately, scam artists see the opportunity to travel as an opportunity to pull a new con.

Some online deals with major airlines may indeed be too good to be true, warns a new report from the Better Business Bureau. On its online scam tracker, the BBB has recently received numerous “reports of con artists creating fake airline ticket booking sites or customer service numbers.”

There are a few sure-fire ways to protect yourself from giving away your hard-earned money…

1. Research

If it’s a new company, look it up on the BBB’s database. It’s available for free online, here. Customers leave feedback, reviews, and comments for other future customers to learn from.

“I received a phone call right after [I booked the flight] stating that they wanted $100 per passenger to finalize my flight,” One victim told the BBB in its report. “After calling the airline to complain, the victim discovered the flight wasn’t available to begin with.”

That anonymous victim’s credit card was charged for a flight that was never booked, according to BBB.

2. Make sure the website is secure

This can go overlooked but it’s important. Internet browsers should always be secure. How can you tell? Take a look at the browser. If it doesn’t start with “https:” you may have a problem. Any credible company’s site will start that way. If it says “http:” only, search elsewhere. You’ll also always see a lock icon when visiting a purchasing page, the BBB report says.

3. Analyze what’s on the page

It’s not wild to read of airline – or similar – promotions on third-party websites, but pay attention to the page you’re on. The BBB warns “Some websites appear to offer a legitimate service but are only fronts for a scam.” A dead giveaway is spelling and grammatical mistakes. Professional companies pay teams to produce quality content for their digital marketing campaigns. Scam artists may know how to steal. But more often than not thieves aren’t that smart. Most leave clues at the crime scene.

4. Always pay with a credit card

Yes, the one victim in the BBB’s report got ripped off using a credit card. But they were likely able to dispute it. This is a tip the BBB recommends to combat this scam and more: always pay online with a credit card.

“Fraudulent charges made on a credit card can usually be disputed, whereas that might not be the case with other payment methods,” the BBB report says. “Unfortunately, there is no way to get back the personal information you may have shared.”

If you’re like the 3 out of 5 Americans who are ready to travel this summer, heed these tips. They may save you financially in ways you haven’t predicted.