As the ‘silly season’ approaches fast, SCAMwatch has advised expectant travellers to check the authenticity of flight booking websites before making any reservations for domestic and international travel.
SCAMwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has received reports of fraudsters who have copied the ABN and design of legitimate travel websites.
The fraudsters claim to sell tickets on behalf of popular airlines, but the airlines have not authorised the sale. Upon buying the fake tickets, victims are handed a booking number that unbeknownst to them, does not actually exist with the airline they are to fly with.
The consumer watchdog said some of the warning signs are the unfamiliarity of flight booking websites or unknown websites, unusually cheap prices on offer, the absence of an Australian contact number or the trader’s address, and the absence of a valid Australian Federation of Travel Agents membership number.
SCAMwatch listed a number of ways travellers can protect themselves, including:
- Be cautious when looking at really cheap airfares — If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Never give money or personal details to people you don’t know and trust.
- Check the ABN is provided on the website and is registered to the trader named on the site.
- If you may have given your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
Consumers may either be contacted directly by the scammers or had followed links via well-known social networking sites.
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