Need a vacation? BBB says double check before you buy airline tickets

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning Hoosiers of airline ticket scams after receiving reports of “con artists creating fake airline ticket booking sites or customer service numbers.”

The BBB is reminding anyone purchasing tickets to use caution an double check the URL or phone number before providing credit card information.

According to the BBB’s website, scams reported include:

  • Booking a flight – either through a website or through customer support. You then receive a confirmation message but notice a ticket was never sent.
  • Booking a flight – through a travel website offering deals. You pay with your credit card but then receive a call from the travel company saying there’s a sudden increase in price or extra charge to finalize the booking.
    • The BBB said this is something a legitimate company would never do.

With both of these scams, the BBB said when you call the airline to follow up about your flights, you learn there is no record of your booking.

One victim told BBB Scam Tracker, “I received a phone call right after [I booked the flight] stating that they wanted $100 per passenger to finalize my flight.” Then, after calling the airline to complain, the victim discovered that “the flight wasn’t available to begin with. The flight was never booked… this company just charged my card.” 

To avoid travel scams, the BBB recommends:

  • Doing your research. If you come across a company you haven’t dealt with before, research it before making any purchases. Look on BBB.org for reviews and feedback from previous customers.
  • Double checking the URL before you enter personal and payment information. It can be easy to click on a sponsored ad or imposter website without noticing. Before you enter any sensitive information, double check that you are on the right website and that the link is secure.
    • Secure links start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase page. Learn more at BBB.org/BBBSecure.
    • “Before you enter any sensitive information, make sure the website has the “https” that is huge and a lot of people miss that you see the http, you see the colon, you see the backslash but if you don’t see the s then that sight is not secure and your payment information can be hacked and you can’t trust where it’s going,” said Nichole Thomas, BBB.
  • Being wary of third-party websites. Some websites appear to offer a legitimate service but are only fronts for a scam. Be suspicious of websites with no working customer service number and no physical address. Typos and grammatical errors can be indications of a scammer’s handiwork, too.
  • Making online purchases with your credit card. Fraudulent charges made on a credit card can usually be disputed, whereas that might not be the case with other payment methods.  Unfortunately, there is no way to get back the personal information you may have shared. 

For more ways to protect yourself from travel scams, go to BBB.org/TravelScam.

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