A Canadian man is out over $2,200 after booking a trip to Brazil through a fraudulent travel website.
In October, Sam Salam said he Googled travel companies when booking his flight to Brazil to visit his girlfriend. After he paid for his ticket, Salam said something didn’t seem right after he called the number online.
“They sent me a ticket, but it was a strange ticket, and they said they would send me the real original ticket at a later time,” Salam, of Vancouver, B.C., told CTV News Toronto.
Salam booked his ticket through Flight Centre Canada – or so he thought. He decided to visit a Flight Centre location in person when his ticket didn’t arrive, and that’s when he found out he had booked his trip through a fraudulent company.
“When I went in the office, they already knew about this problem and said it was a scam,” said Salam.
Salam was scammed out of $2,280.
Sam Salam (left) fell victim to a scam costing him $2,280 when he booked a flight to visit his girlfriend in Brazil through a fake website. (Photo submitted by Sam Salam).
Flight Centre Canada is now warning its customers to be careful when booking a flight they don’t end up on a fake website imitating their company.
“We are seeing a lot of fraudulent websites pop up that imitate Flight Centre Canada,” said Chris Lynes, the managing director of Flight Centre Canada. “A lot of the time people will show up at the airport and not realize that they don’t have real tickets.”
According to the company, an example of a website imitating Flight Centre Canada is when “center” is used in the link, which is the American spelling of the word.
This is what Flight Centre Canada said their real website looks like. (Flight Centre)
The company said it has heard from many victims who have lost thousands of dollars and wants to warn its customers to be careful when booking a trip.
“We are in contact with Google, and our legal team has been working on this to remove these sites, but as soon as we get one down, another one seems to pop up,” said Lynes.
Salam had to buy another ticket to go to Brazil, and despite being scammed, he said he had a good trip with his girlfriend and likes to try to keep a positive outlook.
“Thank God I’m keeping safe and happy, and as we say in French, ‘C’est la vie!'” said Salam.
Salam could not get a refund because he paid with a debit card. When booking travel you should always use a credit card because if there is a problem you have a better chance of getting a refund if something goes wrong.