Travel agency scams. Being in the business for some years now we have been exposed for fraude or mailcious intents to get free know-how or to charge flight tickets and more services by illegal means. So look out for this:
You tend to “break in” and learn to see by the first sight that you shouldn´t waste your time on answering some emails that drop in. One try to google the sender and no hits. You look for anything close to the company or person on facebook and nothing. That´s a first good indicator.
Your alarms as a travel agent should really set off if they (in their mail) ask for:
- Long tours (2 weeks) with a group of 15 or more. (they often mention scolars to sort of rock you into confidence)
- They want top quality or even luxury but don´t mention what they want to see or do. (strange if you get a little objective don´t you think?)
- Rounding up they always come to the credit cards. They sometimes want you to charge the credit cards the source will send you and he (mainly men) is most of the time in a a hurry to get this part done. My imaginary criminal mind tells me he possesses stolen credit cards and later asks you for a commission…
Sometimes you get inquiries from other tour operators as well. Real ones! In our almost ten year history it has happened with a norwegian agent from south of Spain, and with 2 U.S. agencies. The last one, just a couple of weeks ago, actually knew about us by contacting Tour Spain´s office in Miami!
That made me spend about a half a day tailoring a cultural and gastronomic 7 day tour in Spain in July 2019. Then he said July was to hot and the musical event he asked for was too big… I proposed to move it into fall and never heard from him again. Steve never got back to us, after several attempts, even calling his agency and asking him for a reply. I guess this has triggered me to write this post.
I still believe a good 98% of agencies and private parties that contact us have good intentions, but always watch out for travel agency scams. Some may think tour operators and incoming agencies are superfluos. We think we still have an important role to play!
What about the other way around? What guarantees do the client & traveler have? Well in European Commission you can learn more about the general guidelines set up by the EU. Read more!
If you want to look deeper into this matter, I recommend this more detailed post at Travelmarketreport!