Fake Travel Agent Allegedly Scammed Customers Out Of $130,000

People instinctively trust others more if we have something in common with them, and that instinct led some people of Fijian origin who live near Modesto, California to a scammer. A man who was originally from Fiji set himself up as a travel agent and accepted money to book flights, then gave customers phony paperwork without making reservations, or canceling return tickets while travelers were out of the country.

It’s unlikely that the phony travel agent’s victims will get any of their money back, though. He’s accused of scamming about 50 travelers out of $130,000, but local police knew that he would be in a certain place at a certain time, and took advantage of that to arrest him. Where was that? Federal bankruptcy court, for his scheduled bankruptcy hearing.

One traveler says that he spent $5,000 on tickets for a trip to Fiji, later learning that the tickets weren’t even real. Other customers received authentic-looking flight itineraries, but the flight numbers they received weren’t even real. According to local police, fake or canceled plane tickets stranded five customers overseas, since they thought they had flight reservations.

There were some warning signs: the travel agency had poor online reviews, and an F rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Travelers Allegedly Swindled By Phony Modesto Travel Agent May Never See Their Money Returned [CBS Sacramento]