CONSUMER FIRST ALERT: Unfriendly scams in the friendly skies

Tips on how to avoid losing money when booking travel
Updated: Apr. 23, 2023 at 6:00 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - If you’re planning a summer trip, you’ll likely start searching the internet for good deals. Consumer experts say be on guard, because scammers are using sophisticated websites to target travelers.

The Better Business Bureau wants you to be extra vigilant if you’re booking travel online. Post-pandemic travel is taking off. And we know scammers adapt to the mood of the moment.

“Those Google searches can get you in a lot of trouble. trust me! Of course, people are searching for deals because right now the costs are really high on everything from car rentals to hotels to airfare,” Lisa Schiller with the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau said.

Would you recognize a fake? Global cybersecurity company Brandshield shared an example of a website impersonating the airline Delta. The bogus website uses a similar color scheme and a look-alike logo.

Scammers set up an imposter Delta Airlines website. Would you notice?
Scammers set up an imposter Delta Airlines website. Would you notice?(Brandshield)

The imposter website uses the address deltaaairline -- with two A’s in “airline.” The airline’s real web address is simply

It’s why you have to verify before you submit any financial or personal information.

How big of a problem is it?

The Federal Trade Commission reports more than $103 million in losses due to travel scams last year and more than 62,000 complaints about travel, vacations and timeshares.

“You want to report that if you run into a scam to BBB -- report it to BBB Scamtracker -- or if it’s a legitimate company and you have a complaint, please take time to file a complaint,” Schiller advises.

To avoid losing money to a travel scam:

  • Be alert when you’re browsing; don’t fall for look-alike websites
  • Third-party websites can take on extra fees
  • Free or deep discounts might cost you money in the long-run
  • Look out for fake rental car offers.

Stick to trusted websites.

“You have to watch out for false promises, sense of urgency, anything that sounds too good to be true, prices that are really low -- all of those should be red flags for you,” Schiller said.

Financial website Nerd Wallet also suggests tips to save money on flights:

  • Flying in the middle of the week is typically cheaper than traveling on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday
  • Monday is another day to avoid flying because it’s popular with business travelers

The BBB says when you make travel purchases online, using a credit card -- not a debit card -- is going to give you the best protection.