find scams

Fake Travel Agency

Fake Travel Agencies: How They Work

(with video below) This is one of the most common travel scams, especially when hot destinations are on everybody's mind -- and that's happening particularly now. Criminals create great looking websites for "new" travel agencies offering amazing deals. Wouldn't you like to brag to your friends that you went to the Mayan Riviera for $350?

We will take a look not only at bogus travel agencies, but also at ones that have a business license, however using deceptive practices such as advertising a $37 flight but charging over $230 (see below the case of, reported by many victims). Let's start with something visual. 

Watch the video below to see the Fake Travel Agency scam exposed:

Fake Travel Agency Exposed Video

The scammers, usually using amazing pictures stolen from the Internet to promote their destinations, create fake travel agencies for a month at a time, get hundreds of avid tourists who pay on the spot, and then close down the "business".

Is it that simple? Yes. Let's continue.

Websites are created in such a high quality that is really hard to differentiate a real business than a shady one. The scammers then proceed to buy a bunch of Google AdWords or Facebook ads and close deals on spot. After a month of work 'in', they collect, shuts down the website, and create a new one. And the show goes on.

But that's not all.


In a different variation of the scam, criminals create duplicate websites of real travel agencies. They use legitimate logos and offer amazing travel deals, luring the victims into filling out an application with their personal information, including credit card numbers which are charged right away.


When a $37 Airplane Ticket Turns Into $235:

We were sent a desperate email from a reader, called Arne I., who booked a national flight on for $37.50, but in the end the charges were $235. Arne explains:

"I booked a domestic ticket (Davao-Manila Davao) which as per their webpage would cost US$35.50 (screenshot below) which is a very good fare, about 50% of what others offered for same/similar flight.".

flightsticketgo charges


"However, when I paid the amount charged was US$129.63 FOR HOLD TICKET FEE or 55% of the total fee with a balance of US$106.06 to be paid to get the actual ticket! Total price US$235.69 or almost 10 x the price given on their website!!!! I contacted them by email for cancellation and refund of the US$129.63 "HOLD TICKET FEE" but they refuse and just give me the runaround....​" has plenty of negative reviews online.

On TripAdvisor, one traveler named Louisvella said: "I just tried to book with flightsticketgo from Bangkok to London Gatwick. price on their site was $144 when I booked it it came as $469.20 and money was taken from debit card. Then a second payment was required to get the ticket $384. Tried to ring them several times on the 2 number that they advertise. One in Singapore and one in UK but no reply."

Another reviewer, Elma C, wrote:

"It's been 3 days that they aren't replying. I'm now convince they really are a scam. Hopefully we could help each other regarding this matter. Im not from US. So if anybody from US out there please report this site. Let's prevent more victims on this one."

To justify their charges, has the explanation of their fees on their website here. However, many clients complain that the total charges are not showing on the checkout page or on the confirmation email when users buy their plane tickets. 



How To Avoid Fake Travel Deals

Before you book your next holiday vacation, search on-line for the name of the provider and for several reviews. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Use recommendations from your friends or visit a local travel agency.

If you choose the online option, rely only on reputable companies that have great feedback for their good deals. Also, ask top travel influencers if they have any feedback on the company you have doubts about. Most of them answer quickly and share opinions.

Feel free to share your bad experiences and submit the names of the scammers below, in the 'Comments' section.


How To Report Fake Travel Agencies:

Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here


How To Protect Yourself More:

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You'll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

Add Your Comment

Editor's Choice