Scam alert: New warning issued for rebooking air travel after delays, cancellations

Some travelers have thought they were calling an airline only to be scammed

ByKelly McCarthy, GMA ABCNews logo
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
New warning for rebooking air travel after delays, cancellations
Shmuli Evers almost fell victim to a phone scam after his Delta flight from JFK Airport in New York City to Florida was canceled.

NEW YORK -- Summer air travel is already off to a bumpy start for many travelers experiencing more flight delays than usual and now there's a new alert for when it's time to rebook, ABC News reported.

With flight delays higher than last summer, stuck travelers are trying to avoid the lines and calling to rebook -- and that's where the trouble can start.

Shmuli Evers told ABC News he was in a jam on Sunday evening at JFK Airport in New York City when his Delta flight to Florida was canceled. While in a line of other stranded passengers at the help desk, Evers said he searched online for a number for Delta customer service. He called the number listed and eventually got an automated prompt.

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Evers said he was almost scammed.

"There was like two options -- like is this for this airline, that airline," which he recalled thinking was weird. "'If this is Delta's number, this should be just Delta?' which was, looking back now, already a little bit strange."

He told ABC News that the call dropped and a different number called him back, asking for his name and flight confirmation number.

Evers claimed they tried several times to get his payment information, but told ABC News he noticed too many red flags.

"I asked him, 'Where are you located?' He's like, 'Yeah, I'm in Rochester, New York.' [I asked], 'How far is that from New York City?' He's like, 'It's about two hours.' And so I'm like, 'OK, that's not the way it is.'"

Delta told ABC News in a statement, "Whenever we become aware of an alleged scam targeting our customers, including in this situation, we immediately conduct an investigation. Using the facts gained from an investigation, when able, we can then address each unique situation as appropriate with the necessary legal means at our disposal."

But this isn't the first time would-be scammers have attempted to target unsuspecting airline customers.

Another traveler, Kathleen Marcozzi, said she tried to search online for her airline's phone number to rebook a flight, but the person she eventually spoke to told her it would cost $400 and sent a document to sign from an unrelated company.

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"I said, 'I'm not signing this.' And he said, 'You have to sign it or you're going to lose your flight.'"

The Better Business Bureau says it has received nearly 200 reports of similar airline travel scams, many of which have involved operators posing as airline employees, rebooking or canceling flights without refunds and even using images or logos of valid companies.

Experts say if you suspect you're being scammed, contact your bank followed by the real travel company.

"Tell them what happened to you," Theresa Payton, CEO of Borderless Solutions and former White House chief information officer, said. "Report the fraud and see if they can help you and get rebooked."

"If you find yourself in this situation where you have been scammed, time is of the essence," she said.