The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says scammers are trying to dupe unsuspecting flyers amid a sharp increase in flight cancellations in recent months.
Scammers are setting up fake booking websites and taking 'orders' for flights either through a sign up or taking a phone call (many of them also have fake order phone numbers).
They entice orders by publishing great airfare deals on their site, only they're not deals at all.
Often what happens next according to the BBB is the buyer receives a phone call from the sheisters informing them that there has been a jump in price (or an extra charge) for the ticket(s).
Another con is you get an email or text message about your upcoming flight being canceled, it may be a scam. The message may say that your original flight was real, but the cancellation notice is fake. The number provided in the message may offer to book you a new ticket – for a price.
When you received the message about your original flight, that indeed was your flight. The con artist had your credit card number and was trying to steal your money. They confirmed that there was nothing wrong with your original flight and that you were the victim of a scam by giving out your credit card details.
Here are Some Tips to Protect Yourself Against Fare Scammers (or Any Scammer for That Matter)
Make sure all the flight details are correct before you call the airline:
Confirm everything in the (potential scammers) message to make sure everything matches up with your actual booking/reservation. Often times, it will not.
Make your purchases with a credit card, even before using a debit card
You stand a much better chance at disputing the charge with your credit card if you get scammed. Once you know something is up, contact your credit card company immediately. And although you can, avoid using cash (if you must, we actually cover buying in cash here)
Double check websites you have not heard of
Oftentimes, scam sites will have misspellings, and/or don not provide and address or even a phone number.
Always double check your ticket purchase to make sure everything looks right when the airline sends you your confirmation. If you're buying for someone else (especially in another country), make sure you cover all the bases.
If you think you might have been scammed online, you can report it to the BBB at https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/