Baytown woman has warning after she was almost scammed by fake travel website while booking flights

Samica Knight Image
Tuesday, April 30, 2024
Baytown woman almost scammed by fake travel site while booking flights
A woman from Baytown was almost out hundreds of dollars when she unknowingly bought plane tickets from a fake third-party website. Here's what to look out for when shopping online.

BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- With peak summer travel season right around the corner, for many people, traveling on a budget is the way to go.

However, the Better Business Bureau wants you to watch out for deceptive third-party flight websites that fabricate flight cancelations to scam you out of more money. One Baytown woman was almost out hundreds of dollars as she prepared to travel for her bachelorette party.

Tiffany Sylvester and seven of her friends were headed to Nashville to celebrate her upcoming nuptials and she knew the plane tickets were not going to be cheap.

"I really wanted to book them for Southwest, but we were just trying to look for the best deal," Sylvester said.

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She clicked on what she originally thought was a discount plane ticket website, but turns out, it was actually just a website with a similar name. She booked three tickets with two credit cards, and her dad booked the rest of the flights.

"I got a booking confirmation for both tickets. I told my dad, and we were like 'OK ,we're good,'" Sylvester said. "The next morning is when I got a call."

Sylvester said she became suspicious when the person on the other side of that call said her departure flight was booked, but claimed that her return flight was no longer available. She said they also told her that she needed more money to book the return flight. She said the person on the line also requested that she rebook and pay for all of the flights together.

"He wanted me to book them all together because they were supposed to be cheaper," she said.

The Better Business Bureau warns about this. The BBB Scam Tracker has gotten multiple reports from people across the country who have been contacted about a "sudden price increase or an extra charge to finalize booking." The BBB doesn't want you to fall for it.

Sylvester did her own research. She went to the Southwest Airlines website and successfully booked the same flight that she was told was no longer available. Sylvester and her family were able to cancel everything with the third party website before losing all of their money. They have been closely watching their credit information ever since.

Here are some things the BBB wants you to know when it comes to avoiding travel scams:

  • Do your own research. If it's a company you aren't familiar with, look it up first. That should include doing a search on the BBB's website.
  • Confirm the URL for the website before entering your personal payment information. Make sure it isn't a sponsored ad or fake website that is trying to look real. Secure websites start with "https://" and include a lock icon on the purchase page.
  • Be cautious of third-party websites, especially with grammatical errors, no working customer service number, and no physical address.
  • Make online purchases with a credit card. Fraud charges there can be disputed.

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