Scammers are always looking for ways to take advantage of people, and the airline industry is no exception. Whether through fake airline ticket booking sites or fake flight cancellation emails, travelers need to be vigilant and protect themselves from airline scams.
In this blog, we provide tips and advice on recognizing and avoiding airline scams to help you have a safe and stress-free travel experience.
How Do Airline Scams Work?
Airline scams trick unsuspecting travelers into paying for something that either doesn’t exist or is poor quality. These scams can take many forms, and scammers use a variety of tactics to lure in their victims.
For example, some may create fake websites to advertise phony deals or services, while others may pose as legitimate airlines or booking companies in phishing scams designed to steal personal information or credit card information.
Unfortunately, these scams can be difficult to detect, as scammers are often skilled at making their offers appear legitimate.
6 Common Airline Scams
Here are six common airline scams to watch out for.
Fake Flight-Booking Websites
Scammers create websites that mimic legitimate booking sites with similar logos and layouts. These sites may offer attractive deals on flights or vacation packages that are often too good to be true.
After customers enter their payment information, scammers may provide fake tickets. Or, they may disappear altogether. Therefore, it’s important to double-check the website’s URL and ensure that it’s the airline’s official site or a reputable booking platform.
“Too Good to Be True”
Scammers may use ads or emails to offer customers incredibly low prices on flights or travel packages. They may use fake customer reviews to make their offer seem more legitimate. After customers make a payment, scammers may provide fake tickets. Or, once again, they may disappear altogether.
To help avoid this scam, customers should be wary of any deal that seems too good to be true and double-check the seller’s credentials.
Fake Flight Cancellation Emails
Scammers send emails that look like they’re from a legitimate airline or booking platform, claiming that the customer’s flight has been cancelled. The email may direct the customer to a link to reschedule or obtain a refund.
However, the link leads to a fake website where the customer enters their payment or personal information, which the scammer then uses for fraud. Therefore, customers should be wary of any email requesting payment or personal information and double-check the airline’s website or customer support for information about flight cancellations.
“Declined” Credit Card Payments
Scammers send emails or call customers claiming their payment has been declined, asking them to enter their credit card information to complete the transaction. This information is then used for fraudulent purposes.
Customers should be cautious of any unexpected communication regarding payment, especially if it asks for personal or payment information.
Robocalls Offering “Free” Vacations
Scammers use robocalls to offer customers a “free” airfare and vacations but require them to pay hidden fees or attend a timeshare presentation. Unfortunately, these vacations are usually not as advertised, and the fees are exorbitant.
Customers should be wary of unsolicited offers for free airline tickets and vacations and double-check the seller’s credentials before agreeing to anything.
Fake Airline Customer Support
Scammers set up fake customer support lines or social media accounts pretending to be a legitimate airline, helping customers with issues. The scammers then ask for personal or payment information, which they use for fraud.
Customers should only contact customer support through official channels and refrain from providing personal or payment information over the phone or through social media.
How to Help Protect Yourself from Airline Scams
Protecting yourself from airline scams requires a combination of vigilance and caution. First, always research before booking a flight and double-check the seller’s credentials or booking platform. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Never provide personal or payment information to an unsolicited source.
Additionally, monitor your credit card transactions regularly to ensure no unauthorized charges. Finally, consider signing up for identity theft protection.
IdentityIQ identity theft protection services can help safeguard your personal information and alert you to suspicious activity. By staying informed and cautious, you can minimize your risk of falling prey to airline scams.
Where to Report Airline Scams
If you’ve fallen victim to an airline scam, it’s important to report it to the appropriate authorities to help prevent future fraud and potentially recover your losses.
You can report the scams to your local law enforcement authorities as well as to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Better Business Bureaus (BBB).
To protect yourself from airline scams, be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true, double-check the seller’s or booking platform’s credentials, and never provide personal or payment information to unsolicited sources.
Monitor your credit card transactions regularly and invest in identity theft protection.