Airfare scams are cashing in on canceled flights, BBB says

The BBB said scammers are trying to take advantage of the growing number of canceled flights...
The BBB said scammers are trying to take advantage of the growing number of canceled flights with rebooking cons.(Pixabay)
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:29 AM HST
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(Gray News) - Scammers are taking advantage of the increase in flight cancelations with new cons, according to the Better Business Bureau.

In one scheme, scammers are creating fake websites for cheap flights with a major airline, the BBB explained.

Consumers book the flight either online or by calling a customer support number, but shortly after making the payment, the company calls, saying there’s been a sudden price increase or an extra charge needed to finalize the booking.

The BBB said this is something a legitimate company would never do.

In a similar con, the original flight was real, but the cancellation notice is fake, according to the BBB.

The consumer gets an email or text claiming an upcoming flight was canceled and providing a phone number to rebook and get a new ticket – for a fee.

When following up with real airline support, however, consumers discover nothing was wrong with the original flight.

“I thought that I bought airline tickets with United Airlines through a company that sells at discounted prices. They called me shortly after I bought my tickets and said that the flight had been canceled. They wanted permission to put me on another flight with Southwest and said it would be $80 extra,” a victim told BBB Scam Tracker.

“It turned out that United Airlines never canceled a flight. I tried to call this company and leave a message, and I tried to email them to no avail. It turns out that the airlines were unaware of this ticket purchase.”

The BBB offered the following tips to avoid travel scams:

  • Do your research.
  • Double check flight details before calling support.
  • Confirm the URL before entering personal and payment information.
  • Be wary of third-party websites. Some websites appear to offer a legitimate service but are only fronts for a scam.
  • Make online purchases with your credit card since they can usually be disputed.

If you’ve been a victim of an airline ticket or other travel scam, please report your experience at BBB.org/ScamTracker.

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