Travel

Fake travel agency fleeces customers out of $100K

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 20th, 2019 1:42 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 22, 2016
3052 posts
2165 upvotes

Fake travel agency fleeces customers out of $100K

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/0 ... gency.html

Again, why would you deal with a third party when it's so easy to go online and deal directly with the airline you're flying with, the hotel you're staying at, and the car rental agency you're renting from?
Friendly reminder: South Street is the second coming of Licks, and Works Burger is a bad ripoff of Red Robin put out by those purveyors of garbage, MTY Group.
8 replies
Sr. Member
Jan 8, 2012
536 posts
244 upvotes
Williams Lake
Because you can often save money and maintain travel flexibility by doing so, of course.

Why would you ignore a means of saving money and maintaining flexibility?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 22, 2016
3052 posts
2165 upvotes
wudtsilake wrote:
Mar 19th, 2019 10:01 pm
Because you can often save money and maintain travel flexibility by doing so, of course.

Why would you ignore a means of saving money and maintaining flexibility?
Ever heard the phrase "Penny wise and pound foolish"? That's what you are if you go third party to save a few bucks... and end up stranded:

https://forums.redflagdeals.com/best-si ... #p29769727
https://forums.redflagdeals.com/flight- ... #p30512161
https://forums.redflagdeals.com/united- ... f-2166661/
Friendly reminder: South Street is the second coming of Licks, and Works Burger is a bad ripoff of Red Robin put out by those purveyors of garbage, MTY Group.
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2015
2112 posts
1227 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
Mar 19th, 2019 9:51 pm
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/0 ... gency.html

Again, why would you deal with a third party when it's so easy to go online and deal directly with the airline you're flying with, the hotel you're staying at, and the car rental agency you're renting from?
This article is extremely vague but there’s so much more to this then mentioned. Just like airline fraud (which is a huge issue) this individual likely had to have a connection in order to do this.

Also, there’s a big difference with reputable large 3rd parties (OTA- online travel agencies) and some random women advertising on kijiji/craigslist (go look there are people who advertise on there). The fact that there was no agency attached to her name in this article (and under TICO this must be mentioned) tells me she was doing this out of a back of truck (no brick and mortar or website mentioned either). So ya people are foolish when they think they can get a deal. I’ve seen people claim to disguise these scam offers as “family and friends/ employee discounts” publicly- which is impossible.

I’ve seen similar situations in local news a LOT recently. Just a background on how she’s getting away with this:

This fraudster worked for an agency (let’s pretend Expedia) OR had someone she knew who worked for one (or for a supplier) that was working WITH her. She had access to confidential exclusive info provided to Expedia in regards to codes / info required to make bookings with thousands of airlines, cruise lines, tour operators. When someone from a Expedia calls to make / alter a reservation with an airline they identify themselves with this info (and this how they receive commission). She picks up the phone and makes the reservation based on who she’s scamming (airline? Cruiseline?). BIG agencies have the abilility to call in (for example: Air Canada Vacations) make a booking and pay for it using like a line of credit that was extended to Expedia from AC as they feed them millions in sales. They go ahead and make the booking .... The scammer takes the official confirmation & etickets that she gets once she makes the booking and sends it to her victim. Victim thinks “oh great I’m booked for half off the cost!” (She’s probably selling this stuff at a fraction) and collects this in cash. Long story short that can be done with pretty much any airline/hotel/tour operator/cruise line etc

It gets more complicated from there- as likely she’s doing this with last minute bookings before anyone higher up at Expedia in accounting realize they can’t balance the books. Now Expedia is on the hook - supplier/airline is on the hook ... and the passenger shows up at the airport and doesn’t have a reservation. It can be done with bookings made much more in advance (hence why some people were scammed via credit card) but I won’t bore you with specifics on how they are getting away with that.

Internally (both with suppliers and agencies) policies have been adjusted so each staff member may have specific codes/info given to them or they change weekly/monthly. So it’s easier to track down who is responsible and if the info has been leaked/hacked. There also has been cases where employees at airlines/tour operators were the ones supplying the info to scam artists like this.

So ya it happens and it’s been happening for years. There are reputable 3rd parties and then cases like this. These people pretty much bought a “authentic” Louis Vuitton off the back of a truck for $200 and now wonder why it’s not real.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 22, 2016
3052 posts
2165 upvotes
More details:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ ... -1.5019827
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ ... -1.5044123
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ ... -1.5062814

If I had family in Colombia to visit (meaning I'm not getting a resort package) I'd have just booked directly with the airline. Penny wise and pound foolish...
Friendly reminder: South Street is the second coming of Licks, and Works Burger is a bad ripoff of Red Robin put out by those purveyors of garbage, MTY Group.
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2015
2112 posts
1227 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
Mar 20th, 2019 1:13 pm
More details:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ ... -1.5019827
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ ... -1.5044123
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ ... -1.5062814

If I had family in Colombia to visit (meaning I'm not getting a resort package) I'd have just booked directly with the airline. Penny wise and pound foolish...
Exactly but I think more “if it’s too good to be true it probably is” and this is why people are foolish- Why did she book with this person and not the airline (in this case Air Canada)? Because she was being quoted a price that was far lower and didn’t exist.

She paid $5000 for 6 people to travel to Colombia (over Christmas- the most expensive time of the year). That’s $833 a ticket... impossible.

Edit: for the heck of it I just searched Dec 21 2019 on AC to Bogotá/ Colombia and the tickets are already $1300-$1400 pp for those dates (9 months in advance)
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 22, 2016
3052 posts
2165 upvotes
BrunetteGirl wrote:
Mar 20th, 2019 1:37 pm
Exactly but I think more “if it’s too good to be true it probably is” and this is why people are foolish- Why did she book with this person and not the airline (in this case Air Canada)? Because she was being quoted a price that was far lower and didn’t exist.
Didn't the article say they were to fly Transat? Same thing, should have gone to airtransat.com
Last edited by EastGTARedFlagger on Mar 20th, 2019 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Friendly reminder: South Street is the second coming of Licks, and Works Burger is a bad ripoff of Red Robin put out by those purveyors of garbage, MTY Group.
Deal Addict
Oct 18, 2014
1841 posts
766 upvotes
HK
I go through an Agency for my weekly travels.

They are able to get me fares lower than what you see online due to the volume of sales they have. As well, whenever there is a delay/cancellation, they are working in the background (directly with the airline) to get me an alternate flight/route, while many are stuck on a much later (or next day) flight. Sometimes I get a call from them before I receive a notification from the airline.

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