UTAH (ABC4) – There is a new scam seeking to take advantage of the increased amount of flight cancellations. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker has reported receiving multiple complaints of scammers creating fake websites and customer service numbers in an attempt to charge travelers for rescheduling flights.
The scam starts with travelers searching for cheaper flights and finding what appears to be a discounted deal with major airlines. After booking the flight through the website or by calling the customer support number, travelers will receive a call saying there has been a sudden price increase or there is an extra charge to finalize the booking.
BBB Scam Tracker notes that calling about an extra charge or sudden price company is something a legitimate company will never do.
A similar scam sees scammers notifying travelers through email or a text message that their upcoming flight has been canceled and will need to be rescheduled. The email or text will include a customer service number that when called will give connect to a “representative” who offers to book a new ticket for an additional fee.
“I thought that I bought airline tickets with United Airlines through a company that sells at discounted prices,” one victim told BBB Scam Tracker. “They called me shortly after I bought my tickets and said the flight had been canceled. put me on another flight with Southwest and said it would be $80 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,” the victim reported.
So what can you do to avoid these airfare scams as the holiday travel season rapidly approaches?
First, double-check all of your flight details before calling customer support. Confirm that the flight and reservation numbers in the cancellation email or text message match your information. At a quick glance, these notifications look very real so double checking before calling the support number can potentially save a headache with the bank.
Second, before entering any personal and payment information into the website, double-check that you are on the correct website and the link is secure. It can be easy to accidentally click on a fake website without notice. Before putting in any of your sensitive information, check to see if the URL starts with “https//” and has a lock icon just before it on the purchase page.