3OYS: Fake travel vouchers raise concerns

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Airline travelers are speaking out about scams. "In the mail, oh no," says one savvy traveler." I’d call first do some research before I head out. I don't fall for scams that easily."

Many of us know deception when we see it. But that's not stopping some folks from contacting consumers through the mail and telling them they've won vouchers for two round-trip tickets.

Another traveler said; "I don't usually take free things." Envelopes without return address tend to raise some eyebrows.

Felicia Thompson is with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau. She says; "The voucher actually looks like a check itself."

And for that reason, the Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning regarding authentic-looking vouchers containing the names of legitimate airlines. "There are fraudulent vouchers that are going around, not just Arizona but around the United States. And we've known about it for the last two years now."

Customers are asked to call a claims department reportedly associated with the airline, and they're enticed to call before a deadline. Thompson says: "They're hoping to get your information, maybe perhaps get you in a room to sell you travel information, time-shares; the list can go on and on."

But not everyone falls for it, according to another traveler who tells 3 On Your Side: "I know of all these online schemes and stuff and I’m just one step ahead of them."

3 On Your Side called one of the numbers listed on the voucher and the call-taker immediately asked for information on household income.  We dodged the question and played along and were eventually told the offer was a promotion from a wholesale travel agency. All we had to do was visit one of their locations for a sales pitch.

But the Better Business Bureau says consumers should always use caution.

"American Airways to United Airways to travel deals to travel unions.So there are lots of different names that this company, group, whatever you want to call them are using."

US Airways has even issued a warning telling consumers that "fraudulent letters and postcards" have their name on it. The letters are so convincing; the BBB has received more than 5,000 calls.
"We know for a fact that there have been vouchers everywhere from Hawaii to New York and Illinois so it's happening not just in Arizona but around the United States."

For more information visit: www.usairways.com/en-US/contact/scamalert.html