Don’t Get Caught By An Airline Ticket Scam.
Free flights? No, it’s a fake airline ticket scam trying to trap the unwary.
You receive a letter, or a postcard or perhaps an email that from a quick scan of your eyeballs over it, seems to be offering you a free flight to anywhere within the United States.
That can’t be right you reason, so you read it again, slowly this time.
The letter may use a heading very similar to a genuine airline, or may blatantly and fraudulently use the trade name of an authentic carrier.
Yes, there are the words right there – you have been specially selected to receive a free airline ticket. But, you have absolutely got to contact them right now by dialing a number they give you in the letter.
It seems there is a deadline to claim your free flight and that deadline is right up close.
They say they have been trying to contact you (they don’t say how,) and unless you respond immediately the award goes to someone else.
What? You ask yourself why should they be giving away a free airline ticket?
What is more why should they ‘specially select’ you? It’s not as if you are a frequently flying big customer of theirs, in fact you have never in your life used their airline.
So your B.S. detecting antenna rises up a little from the center of your head and softly beeps. It crosses your mind that this deal is not on the level; it could be some kind of scam.
That antenna should be beeping loudly not softly, because this thing is a scam, an airline ticket scam.
It Sounds So Good.
You are somewhat suspicious, but still it does sound good doesn’t it.
A no cost flight to anywhere in the U.S., a return flight too. What if it is legit? What if just for one time lady luck has smiled at you.
You sure could use a break; get away from all the hassle and the nonsense of daily life.
Maybe get away to somewhere warm. Yes warm would be good.
Then there is the pressure of that deadline.
Got to call immediately it says, otherwise that free flight award, which they claim is worth many hundreds of dollars, goes to some other lucky stiff, hmmm.
So what’s to lose? You pick up the receiver and dial.
The person that you get connected to may give himself or herself a friendly title such as ‘ travel adviser’, but will be of course a highly experienced, high-pressure telemarketer.
The first thing they are likely to do is whip up your excitement about your free trip.
They will enthuse about how nice it is to pack your bags and jet off away from it all.
Then when they have you hot about your supposed award they start in with the questions.
Where do you want to go and when? Full name? Address and so on. Credit card number? Hey wait up, this is supposed to be a free trip right? Why do you need my credit card number?
The answer you get to that question will depend on exactly how this airline ticket scam is being worked.
You may be told you need to pay a small room deposit of $50. When you buck at being charged for something on a free trip you are skillfully persuaded that the deposit is tiny compared to the value of your award.
Your desire for that free flight wins the battle in your mind and you give them your credit card details.
What the telemarketer does not point out is that the balance for the room will also go on your card, and the total room cost will be way, way over standard charges for a substandard room.
Plus when you come to book you find you have very limited choice of flights at extremely inconvenient times.
A variation of the airline ticket scam has you agreeing to buy a round trip flight at a premium price in order to get your free ticket.
Again, you are hit with this news when you are all fired up about your free trip. You figure what the heck, your buddy can go with you and he can pay half the cost, or buy all the beers.
What you are getting is no bargain at all of course; you get ripped off for two very expensive round trip tickets.
Airline Ticket Scam – The Travel Club.
Another twist on the rip off deal is that you are required to attend a seminar for a travel club in order to obtain your free airline ticket.
You are promised that it will not be a high-pressure sales pitch but if you attend, surprise surprise, that’s just what it is.
You will be given all kinds of promises and have all kinds of pressure put on you to sign up for a travel club membership.
These ‘memberships’ can cost from $2,500 up to anything they think they can get away with.
With those kind of fees they could easily afford to give you your promised free airline tickets, but you will be lucky to get those and if you do you may find all kinds of strings attached.
And you have to make your decision right there and then, there is no thinking about it.
The club membership is likely worthless of course. By investing a little time to hunt around authentic travel agents or by searching online, you can find yourself genuine deals without paying that hefty membership.
Looks so inviting doesn’t it? But you will not get there with an airline ticket scam.
Very similar to the travel club scam is the time-share scam. To get your free flight deal you have to attend a prolonged and intensely pressured presentation. You’d be lucky to escape without committing to a time-share deal from hell.
The above does not cover all the variations of the airline ticket scam or phony vacation club racket. New deceptions are springing up all the time under cunningly designed names and logos.
The thing is it is all too easy to produce a scam letter that looks like a genuine company sent it.
Letterheads and logos can be faked and your name can be right there in the salutation. Same with email, it can be convincingly spoofed.
You phone the number given and you don’t know who you are calling.
Who Gets Caught By An Airline Ticket Scam?
You may think that it is only the super gullible that would fall for such a hoax, but you’d be wrong, some quite savvy folks have been stung by the scam, folks like you and me.
Any one of us is liable to become that bit more gullible when a tempting carrot, such as free or very cheap travel, is dangled under our nose.
We may read the letter or email and be very skeptical, but dial the number just in case we would be letting something good go if we didn’t.
That is all that initial letter needs to do, persuade you to make the call — the high-pressure telemarketer takes over from there.
Once they have your ear their aim is to get you to supply your credit card details or get you to attend a presentation.
Not only are these crooks likely to sting you for grossly inflated airfares and accommodations, but also they could use all the information and card details they wheedle out of you to Steal Your Identity. Oh yes, these are not nice people.
- Just because a letter, postcard, email or website is well presented and official looking does not mean that you can assume it is genuine. Likewise with an unsolicited phone call, the person on the other end of the line can say they represent any well-known company, it does not mean that they do.
- Check out any company name by using a reliable search engine and appending the word ‘scam’ to the search. For example – Big Bargain Travel Company Scam. Use the Better Business Bureau to check on a company you are not familiar with.
- Do not be pressured into divulging your credit card details. Nobody needs your card details to give you information. If you give up the details a charge will go on your card.
- If you are intrigued enough to want more particulars, don’t call any number given in the letter or email. Look up the number or search for it using a reliable search engine. But our best advice is don’t call, it will almost certainly be an airline ticket scam, delete the email or screw up the letter and toss it in the recycling.
- Keep the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” at the front of your mind.
- Don’t make hasty decisions on the basis of statements like “offer good for today only” or “only three vacations left at this price.” These statements are made to rush you into a deal without you thinking about it, or without you checking out the company or the offer.
- Be particularly wary of any promotion such as a travel club that requires you to pay out in advance in anticipation of receiving heavily discounted, or free travel at some point in the future.
> Airline Ticket Scam
The Staged Accident Scam.
You are not hurt, you were not going any speed. But drat, your clean
driving record has gone. You pride yourself on your careful considerate
driving and you are kicking yourself for not leaving just a little more
room. Don’t feel too bad about your driving, you have unknowingly been
caught in a staged accident scam.