• Beware of scams offering free travel tickets

    2014-05-23

    A new travel scam has come to light just as summer travel season is picking up. ABC News reported that many people are receiving letters from seemingly legitimate United States travel companies offering free flight vouchers.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, which first disclosed the fraud, the letters reference fake companies such as U.S. Airlines and American Airways. Most of these letters are postmarked from cities near where actual airlines have their headquarters. U.S Airways, for example, is located in Tempe, Arizona, so offers from the fictitious U.S. Airlines may come from nearby places in the state.

    The trick works by giving victims a phone number to call to redeem their tickets. Scammers say they need bank account or credit card numbers to pay for taxes or flight insurance and pressure the caller into giving them the information by saying that the offer is only available for a limited time.

    Last year, the Consumerist reported on a related scam. Instead of giving out financial information on the phone, people who responded to fraudulent letters were asked to attend a presentation to receive their tickets. The presentation turned out to be a pitch for membership in a travel club, which could cost thousands of dollars to join.

    Travelers are advised to make sure that mailings come from companies they know and never reveal bank information over the phone. If an offer requires you to pay any kind of fee, it's probably too good to be true.

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