Get an Earlier Flight

How the scam works:

The victims of this scam are backpackers who go to countries like India or China with an open ticket for a few months.

What happens very often when they are trying to secure their seats at the end of the journey is that they find the soonest they can leave (for a decent price) is two months later. Panic takes over, as nobody wants to pay an extra thousand dollars to get an earlier flight.

Being at the end of the trip, backpackers don’t have money anymore (since that’s the reason they’re leaving) and really can’t afford to stay another couple of months.

As they are begging airlines to get them on the first available flight – this happens a lot – new local “friends” come up with a possible solution. “I have an uncle who works with the company. I can’t promise you anything but if you give him $100, maybe he can get you on the first available flight. If he doesn't I will give you the money back”.

Excited, the backpacker pays the scammer $100 and what happens is magic. Within a week or two, the company calls the traveler with an available flight.

In reality, the scammer did absolutely nothing. Out of the many flights a day, there are always several cancellations creating room for the next person on the waiting list.

How to avoid:

You will hear “I have an uncle who does that” several times, while in India. Don’t fall for it.

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