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Looking for cheap airfare? Don’t fall for this sneaky scam

Are you ready to start exploring the world again? Most people are after the crazy year we just went through.

But before you go booking a vacation rental, we need to share some helpful advice with you. Vacation rental scams are getting trickier, and they’re not easy to spot. Tap or click here for red flags to watch for.

Unfortunately, rental properties are not the only area of concern for travelers these days. Discounted airfare deals are not always what you’d expect either. In fact, some nasty airfare scams are making the rounds right now.

Here’s the backstory

COVID-19 vaccines have been administered at a blistering pace, and with travel becoming more accessible, many are looking for summer vacation spots. If you don’t live near a coastline, you might want to hop on a plane to the nearest beach.

Naturally, airfare skyrockets when everyone is looking to get away. You might be tempted to search for steep discounts or special deals. But beware, as criminals are trying to lure unsuspecting victims into a trap.

Airfare scams to watch for

The goal of any scam is to steal your money or collect personal information. In one such scam, an authentically looking website will process your airplane ticket just like any other travel agency would.

But when you receive your ticket, you might notice that some things seem out of place. Criminals are very adept at forging air tickets or reservations, and you’ll only notice after paying.

The BBB explained that another scam involves the company calling you to say that there has been a sudden airfare price increase and you need to pay more to finalize your booking.

“This is something a legitimate company would never do. After talking to an agent, you find that they have no record of your booking. It turns out you accidentally purchased tickets through a scam website or a phony customer service number,” the BBB warns.

How to avoid being tricked

The BBB offered the following suggestions to avoid falling victim to travel scams:

  • Do your research. If you come across a company you haven’t dealt with before, research it before making any purchases. Look on BBB.org for reviews and feedback from previous customers.
  • Double check the URL before you enter personal and payment information. It can be easy to click on a sponsored ad or imposter website without noticing. Before you enter any sensitive information, double check that you are on the right website and that the link is secure. (Secure links start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase page. Learn more at BBB.org/BBBSecure.)
  • Be wary of third-party websites. Some websites appear to offer a legitimate service but are only fronts for a scam. Be suspicious of websites with no working customer service number and no physical address. Typos and grammatical errors can be indications of a scammer’s handiwork, too.
  • Make online purchases with your credit card. Fraudulent charges made on a credit card can usually be disputed, whereas that might not be the case with other payment methods. Unfortunately, there is no way to get back the personal information you may have shared. 

Keep reading

5 tricky hotel scams that could ruin your next trip

Booking travel? Scammers are creating fake sites to lure you in

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