BBB fighting Expedia scam

HONOLULU — A network of scammers is using Expedia Group’s name to take consumers for thousands of dollars, the Better Business Bureau reported.

BBB, serving the Northwest and Pacific, said in a press release its received several reports in just the past several days from consumers who’ve lost as much as $3,700.

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The legitimate Expedia is a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating.

The scam begins when consumers search online, then call customer service numbers purporting to be Expedia. Customers ask the representative to confirm or change existing reservations they’ve made through the Expedia travel site. But instead of legitimate Expedia reps, they are calling phone numbers used by impostors. The impostors say their refund site isn’t working properly and the consumer needs to purchase gift cards in order to receive a refund or change bookings.

Consumers reporting this scam hail from 17 different states and Canada, and, together, report losing nearly $10,000.

One woman told BBB that the scammer kept telling her to, “purchase (additional) gift cards saying that he had to merge the cards together,” but not to worry as she, “was going to be well reimbursed.” Several customers say the fake customer service rep stayed with them on their cell phones while they purchased the gift cards.

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Expedia Group is taking steps to counteract the impostors, including working with popular search engines to reduce the occurrence of fake ads, making its customer service contact number more visible, and adding info about these scams to its customer service portal.

“We are happy to team up with the BBB to educate people about this scam and share tips on how they can protect themselves,” the Bellevue, Washington-based company, BBB, said in a statement. “Our goal is always to ensure travelers have a seamless and trouble-free booking experience with us, and it’s incredibly unfortunate that scammers have disrupted our customers’ well-deserved vacations and travel plans. Rest assured that we are also working hard to identify ways to prevent this from happening in the future.”

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