Don’t be grounded by flight booking scams

5 November 2010

SCAMwatch is advising travellers to check the authenticity of flight booking websites before making any reservations for domestic and international travel.

SCAMwatch has received a number of reports of fraudulent traders who have copied the ABN and look of legitimate travel websites.

These fake traders claim to sell tickets on behalf of well-known airlines, when in fact the airlines have not authorised the sale.

After purchasing the fake tickets, victims are given a booking number but when they go to use this number they find that the booking doesn’t actually exist with the airline they are supposed to be travelling on.

Consumers may be contacted directly by fraudulent traders, or may follow links via popular social networking sites.

Some victims have lost in excess of $1000 for fake international flight bookings, while others report instances of identity theft after interactions with the fake trader.

Warning signs:

  • The flight booking website is not well-known, or you have never heard of it before.
  • The website claims to offer flights at unusually cheap prices, some up to 50% off.
  • There is no Australian contact number or address for the trader, often because they are not located in Australia despite their claims.

Protect yourself:

  • Be cautious when considering whether to purchase really cheap airfares – if it looks too good to be true it probably is.
  • NEVER send money or give personal details to people you don’t know and trust.
  • Check the ABN quoted on the website is genuinely registered to the trader named on the website. You can look up an ABN on the Australian Government’s business.gov.au website.
  • If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Report:

You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.

More information:

For more information check out the Auction and shopping scams page on SCAMwatch.

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