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BBB alerts consumers to ‘travel voucher’ scam

ROANOKE—Fraudulent travel vouchers that have been flying across the country have now landed in Virginia, in an attempt by scammers to put consumer’s bank accounts on standby.

Consumers in Western Virginia have told the Better Business Bureau (BBB) they are receiving airfare vouchers in the mail for two round trip airline tickets to anywhere in the U.S. These mailers have been circulating across the country as scammers take advantage of the start of summer travel season. The check voucher included looks legitimate and may list “US Airlines,” “American Airways” or “American TAD” as the issuing travel companies. Be advised this is a scam.

Representatives from American Airlines and United Airlines have told the BBB that they do not send such vouchers and have no connection with this series of mailings. The mailer is usually postmarked “Phoenix, Arizona” or “Scottsdale, Arizona” and does not provide a return address. The check is usually in the amount of about $1,200 to $1,400. The mailer will include a phone number and a deadline to redeem the voucher. The letter may claim “we have attempted contacting you on several occasions. This will be your last chance to respond.” Recipients are instructed to call and redeem the voucher for a travel certificate, but in the end are really just giving scammers access to personal information.

“We encourage our consumers to contact the BBB if any deal seems too good to be true,” said Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB serving Western VA. “Your BBB will help you find a company you can trust, and protect you against scammers looking to take advantage of your bank account.”

Here are some BBB tips:

· Do not provide personal information to claim “prizes” or to sign up for free trials.

· Never give your credit card number, social security number or bank account information to pay for fees, taxes, or shipping costs for anything that you may have ‘won’ or are getting for “free.” A true sweepstakes will not make its winner pay fees.

· Check your bank statements and credit cards on a regular basis for unauthorized charges.

· If a company name is provided, go to  HYPERLINK “http://www.bbb.org/” http://www.bbb.org to check out the business or to find a BBB Accredited Business you can trust.

If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org.