Did you see the price of the ticket on the site and found it expensive? Here the same ticket is 50% off!!!
Have you seen any offer like that, from some travel agency whose name you have never heard of? And have you ever been tempted to make that purchase a must-have and save yourself some good money for the holiday trip or the next long holiday? The temptation is enormous, but there is something here that does not seem to be quite right, isn’t there?
Indeed, you should be suspicious. Especially if these tickets (air or even road) with a price not to be missed have two peculiarities: they are only valid for the issuance of tickets at close dates (within 1 or 2 days maximum) and the only accepted form of payment is bank transfer. No credit card, no invoice. Chances of this kind of offer being a fraud are enormous.
Many swindlers pretend they are travel agents who apparently have a gift: get 30, 40 or even 65% off on that same ticket you just saw on the airline’s website. Regardless of the day, time or destination. But the methods these agents use to get tickets are quite questionable.
How does the scam work?
An unsuspecting consumer is interested in the unsolicited offer advertised online, contacts the supposed travel agent, usually through Facebook or WhatsApp, and agrees to purchase the ticket. In these cases, the issuance can only be made for near dates, usually for a day or two later.
Payment is also immediate, for an account whose bank details will be provided by the agent. Customer makes the transfer and, at the same time, the agent issues the voucher to the customer with the shipping code. Done deal, and with a huge discount!
However, the consumer may not know that the agent may actually be a swindler who used a cloned credit card to purchase that ticket from the airline’s own website or from some other travel agency. The fraudster illegally obtained the card information on the “black market” and carried out the transaction using another victim. And as the passage was acquired for near boarding, airlines or buses will hardly have time to cancel the ticket on time and stop that fraud – after all, manual review is a time-consuming process.
So the possibility of reselling for $500 a ticket that actually cost $999, and that’s also why the alleged travel agent only accepted payment by bank transfer, which cannot be reversed if the customer who purchased the passages want to cancel the deal and have the money back.
What are the risks?
This type of scam, quite common on the internet, has bad consequences for many people and institutions involved. For example:
For the unsuspecting customer
Since the purchase of the tickets was made with the credit card of a third party, there is a risk that the fraud will be detected in time by the card issuing bank and the transaction will be canceled. So when the customer arrives at the airport or the bus station ready to travel, they can have a very unpleasant surprise and be informed that the voucher is no longer valid and that the ticket doesn’t exist. That would be very frustrating!
For the scammed airline or travel agency
If the ticket purchased illegally by the fraudster hasn’t been canceled in time for travel, the company will have to pay the loss and return the money from that purchase to the consumer who is the victim of fraud. Not to mention the negative experience that this event will generate – after all, the brand of the business will be tied to the fraudulent buying sensation.
For the bearer of the card
It’s always very unpleasant to know that you were the victim of a scam. Even if the money from fraudulent purchase is returned to the cardholder, the sense of vulnerability may be so great that he/she may be unsure of making card payments on the internet or even making new purchases over the internet. Not to mention that the brands that were also victims of the scam could lose points in the consumer’s unconscious.
For the bank issuing the card
The bank also has operating and service costs to cancel the customer’s cloned card and issue a new piece of plastic – and this process is not cheap. There is also the negative experience of the account holder, who may also find that using cards from that bank “is not safe”.
How to avoid the scam?
For the consumer, distrust generous offers like these is the best solutions. The safest way is to shop for tickets directly on the websites of the airlines and travel agencies or, with well referenced agents.
Of course, a supposed fantastic offer, in which you are offered a discount of up to 65% on the actual price of an air or road ticket, may leave some tourists in doubt. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is a (large) risk that the ticket buyer himself will be harmed. If the fraud is detected in time, the traveler runs the risk of having the holidays frustrated just before boarding. In this case, who to turn to? The amount spent will most likely not be returned… (not to mention that this type of scam is a criminal practice!)
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