Consumer Alert: Planning a trip? BBB Hawaii says double-check that sweet deal

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — People are flying more often with lifted travel restrictions.

Passengers are prepared for long lines and crowded airports, but the Better Business Bureau said they should be on the lookout for airfare scams as well.

“Restrictions are lifting, people are tired of being stuck at home, so they want that vacation,” said Rosann Freitas, BBB Hawaii marketplace manager. “So people are going to go look for that good deal. That’s what they want, they want a great vacation but they don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, so they go searching the internet.”

The BBB said there are a couple of travel scams to be on the lookout for: one sends the customer a confirmation message without a ticket, and another asks the customer to cough up a little extra money to complete their booking.

“So then they pay them more, so they’ve already paid one cost, now they’re paying this other cost and what they’re trying to do, first of all, is just trying to milk you for everything you have as best they can,” Freitas said. “But a legitimate business, that’s not how they do business.”
There are ways to avoid being a victim of these high-flying scams, and it starts with researching new companies.

  • Do a quick web search for customer reviews.
  • Ask loved ones and friends if they have worked with the company before.  
  • Do a double-check of the website’s url you’re using before entering payment information.  

The BBB warns third-party sites that book flights are lurking online to steal sensitive info.

“When purchasing from a third-party, make sure you know who that third party is and that you’ve done your research on them,” Freitas said. “Anytime you purchase online, with a company you don’t know, it’s a higher risk. That doesn’t mean they’re not a legitimate company, it just means you don’t know about them.”

Those who book flights online will not be able to get back the personal information they shared on the web. To avoid having personal information stolen from fraudsters, experts advise using a credit card for online purchases. Fraudulent charges on a credit card can usually be disputed, unlike other payment methods.

Click here for more information from the BBB about avoiding scams while planning a trip.

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