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Airfare scam costs Goshen man $1200

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Jerry Linville should’ve been flying to Las Vegas from the South Bend International Airport last Friday but unfortunately, Linville never made it to Vegas after scammers first got his personal information, then took his money.

Linville and a friend purchased tickets with Allegiant Air earlier this month, and the day before his flight he received a strange email.

“It looked identical to my first confirmation,” Linville said. “It said Allegiant Air. It said everything exactly the same. Knew who I was, who was flying with me, what are seats were.”

But instead of their original departure time, another time was shown. Linville decided to call the number listed on the email.

“Somebody answered, ‘Allegiant Air.’ And I said I only have one question, ‘I’m flying out in the morning, why does my flight say 6:15 now instead of 6:45. And they said that’s because your buddy got bummed off the flight.”

What he thought was an Allegiant Air Representative was actually a scammer.

They claimed they’d be able get his friend back on the flight, if he purchased a Target, Amazon or American Express gift card and paid to move to Business Class.

“Not knowing there was no such thing as a Business in Allegiant Airlines,” he said. “So, I waited, they cancelled my flight. I got a confirmation from, I assume the real Allegiant, that it was cancelled. The money was there, so I didn’t think I was out anything. So, I went ahead and sent them the money. Long story short, I got ripped off for $1200.”

Nichole Thomas of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says scammers pose as travel companies often, and travelers should beware when making vacation plans.

“So, some of the things that we warn about are to really dive deep into that website,” Thomas said. “Look for missed spellings, grammatical errors. Or one thing that’s really simple is to look for the ‘https’ in the corner of your address bar. That ‘s’ means that that site is secure and it is something that is overlooked very often.”

BBB Tip: 5 top vacation scams to watch for when making travel plans

BBB Scam Alert: Watch out for airfare scams when booking your next trip

BBB Scam Tracker: Report a scam

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