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:

Fake Travel Agency Exposed Video

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.

how to travel for cheap

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.

Recommended Read:
Cancelled Flight Compensation Scam

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:

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.

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Patricia Normandin

I have been trying to book travel with a1 travel consultants. They now have $550.00 plus $168.00 in activation fees. They do not notify us by email as primised and they sent us to another site to plan our travel, yourbookingcenter.com. Well, that site didn’t work and referred me to another page asking for credit card information. Not gonna happen. Back to Joy at a1 travel consultants, not to be mistaken for a1 travel. Now the info is going in and waiting five business days for the quote. Three and a half months in and still struggling. Anyone else having… Read more »

Yolanda Mitchell

The View Travel, Farewell Travel or FT travel are all the same company and is a complete scam. They are very good at what they do so please don’t fall for it. They stole $510 from me. Told me I had 72 hours to cancel. When I got the confirmation in my spam mail and payment hadn’t came out of my account yet it threw up a red flag. So I called and no one answered. I feel they only answered when they new the 72 hours was up. Even with me leaving a message they said I couldn’t get… Read more »

Thula

Hie i am in contact with an travell agency called the TRAVELCHEAPUK (ETHIOPIAN AIR) (0208 432 9581 *obmall@travelcheapuk.co.uk,and they have a very cheap deal but i am not sure if they are a genuine agency or not. Please help before i commit.

Paul G

Hmmm… Searches don’t really show this company as a scam, but to be honest I wouldnt trust it fully…the name is somehow not very assuring. What kind of a deal they offered you, Thula?

maria

Hie i am in contact with an travell agency scamdetect_`rediscover the world`(http://www.rediscover.co.uk) they tell us,they send the booking confimation after we pay.we can pay also by bank transfer,but the account is given us trough email.

Art Grant

SmarTours 501 Fifth Ave. Suite 1402 New York, NY 10017-6101 has a nice web site and good deals but I can’t find them on the BBB web site. Is this a legitimate travel agency.?

Art Grant

SmarTours 501 Fifth Ave. Suite 1402 New York, NY 10017-6101 has a nice web site and good deals but I can’t find them on the BBB web site. Is this a legitimate travel agency.?

Claire P.

Art, SmarTours has horrible reviews online, if you google them. I wouldn’t book anything with them.

Henry

Beware of the company that calls itself diamond travels (diamondtravels.co.uk). they claim to be based in the UK, but they will not give you a UK address. They will offer you good prices and as soon as you are committed they put the prices up. When you cancel, they get a fee off you. They are crooks. Don’t fall for their low fares.

Mark Mangooni

Dear MR Thulla AND Mr. Paul G,
We would have been very much delighted if you had contacted the company before posting any kind of non sense article like this about the reputation of our company however we would like to ensure you that Travel Cheap UK has been operating in the market for the past 5 years sucessfully. You can visit our offices if you have any confusion about us or you can alsop contact us on 02070961474 for further information along with our official email address sales@travelcheapuk.co.uk.
Regards
Mark
Senior Manager Reservations

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