Fake Travel Agency
Fake Travel Agencies: How They Work
This is one of the most common travel scams out there, along with the travel club membership rip-offs. It happens especially when hot destinations are on everybody’s mind. Criminals create great looking websites for “new” travel agencies offering amazing deals. Wouldn’t you like to brag to your friends that you found, say, Italy tour packages including airfare for only $650? Or that they found timeshares for sale at $289/year? Or that they offer a fabulous Southwest Airlines giveaway?
In this article, we take a look not only at bogus travel agencies but also at ones that have a business license but use deceptive practices.
So, how do these scams work? Watch the video below to see the Fake Travel Agency scam exposed:
The scammers use travel pictures stolen from the Internet to promote their destinations. They create fake travel agencies for a month at a time, get hundreds of avid tourists who pay for plane tickets 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 fake one. Tricksters 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.
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.
On the other hand, don’t be afraid to consider unique bucket list trips such as The SPARK Experience, a new annual viral event for people who are selected to join according to their charisma and life lessons, regardless of their age or jobs. You can enter your name for once-in-a-lifetime trips to Thailand Italy, Brazil, Transylvania or the Maldives on their site. Here is a quick video about one of their experiences:
New Example of Questionable Deal: When a $37 Airplane Ticket Turns Into $235 with FlightsTicketGo.com
We received a desperate email from a reader, called Arne I., who booked a national flight on www.flightsticketgo.com 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 which is a very good fare, about 50% of what others offered for same/similar flight“.
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….”
FlightsTicketGo.com 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 convinced 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, FlightsTicketGo.com 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 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:
How To Protect Yourself More:
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