So I got wind of a scam today. I was involved, but I really didn't get scammed. Somehow, somebody found out about product I got from Amazon, whined to Amazon that there was something wrong with mine, and Amazon sent them a free one. In my name. To a mail forwarding service in Nevada in my name.
It got me thinking about Travel Agent scams. Seems like every couple of months, we read about some TA that's been busted, or going to court, or sentenced for their travel scams. We hate it. It casts aspersions on the whole industry.
There are two really some easy ways to avoid being caught by one of these scams.
Make sure you use a credit card. That way, you can verify that your TA is running it through the supplier's (cruise line, wholesaler, etc.) system, not their own. You can double check that through your bank statement. It costs us 4% per transaction. We're not absorbing that cost just to be a middle man.
Demand to see confirmations from the supplier. Yes, I'm sure they can be photoshopped or something else. But if you're concerned about your TA, keep forcing them to the next level.
Now having said that, there are some times that we as TA's have to deal with a supplier that needs a group check from us, not 20 indvidual payments. That's where the scammers have the upper hand. You pay them expecting them to pay the supplier. They don't. That's where you, again, need something from the supplier. In writing, on their letterhead or website. Something to confirm that you have a reservation.
It's that old thing, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. We all want to be trusting, but we all read the news and we know it's possible.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to answer an email from a Prince from Nigeria that wants an international flight. it's not a scam. He will send me a cashier's cheque once I set it up. (We get at least one of these emails a week.)