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Airfare scam risks increase as travel returns for summer


With coronavirus vaccines rolling out, people are looking to travel again. However, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about airfare scams when booking a flight.

The BBB Scam Tracker is receiving reports of con artists creating fake airline ticket booking sites or customer service numbers.

The scam starts when a person searching for cheap flights comes across what seems like a great deal with a major airline. After booking the flight and receiving a confirmation message the customer notices they never actually received a ticket.

Scammers might also try to get more money after the flight has already been booked. Michelle Gleba, regional director of the BBB, said real companies would not request this.

"Shortly after making the payment, you receive a call from the company saying there’s been a sudden price increase or an extra charge to finalize your booking, this is something a legitimate company won’t do," Gleba said.

Jerry Price the office manager at Direct Travel said no matter what company or airline you use, it will never charge you for more money after a ticket is purchased.

"There is never a time where we would issue a ticket and we would call them back and say we need more money that just doesn't happen," Price said.

According to the BBB scam tracker, two people in Mexico, Missouri fell victim to this scam. One person thought they were dealing with American Airlines when in reality the scammer charged them over $500 for a ticket they never received.

The other thought they were dealing with Delta Airlines, but then the scammer asked them for more money claiming prices had gone up because of the pandemic. After the transaction was made, the real Delta Airlines had no record of payment.

The BBB said there are ways to avoid this scam:

  • Research the company before making any purchases. Look on for reviews and feedback from previous customers
  • Double-check the URL before you enter personal and payment information to make sure you’re using a secure site
  • Be cautious of third-party websites – especially if there’s no working customer service number and no physical address. Typos and grammatical errors can also be a sign of a scam
  • And make online purchases with your credit card in case you need to dispute the charges

BBB has more information on how to safely plan a getaway during the COVID-19 pandemic and to find ways to protect yourself from travel scams.

Article Topic Follows: News

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Zola Crowder

Zola Crowder joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in June 2020 after graduating from the University of Missouri with a broadcast journalism degree. Before reporting at ABC 17, Zola was a reporter at KOMU where she learned to cover politics, crime, education, economics and more.


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