Scammers bait victims with cheap plane tickets

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Many people have been tricked out of money in a rush to buy low-cost plane tickets as the busy year-end season approaches.

                                   Customers advised to book tickets themselves

Vietnam Airlines allows rescheduling if seats are available and return the tickets at a charge VND600,000 (USD29). Taking advantage of this rule, some scammers offer their services as agents during peak periods around Tet, at half the regular prices. The victims of such scams often provide their private information in order to get the cheap tickets, which is then used by the scammers to cash in on refunds for the return tickets.

Airlines such as VietJetAir and Jetstar do not have a refund policy for tickets, but allow customers to assign their tickets to other customers with a fee of VND310,000. This policy also allows for fraud. Even though a ticket normally costs only VND3 million, service providers offer cheaper prices. After making sales, they sometimes wait a short period before transferring the ticket to another customer. This way, with only one ticket several people could be tricked.

Duong Vinh Trung from Vinh Phuc Province said, "I bought a VND2.6 million Vietnam Airlines ticket through a third party for a flight on January 26. After checking online it seemed everything was fine, but when I re-checked the information, the system showed that my ticket had been returned. I called Vietnam Airlines but the situation was never resolved."

In addition, travel agents said that not many people know how to check on the information for their tickets.

Nguyen Thi Lan, who works in DakLak Province, also discovered she was tricked in early November. Her husband booked tickets online but waited for a long time without receiving them. At first, the agent asked for more time, then refused to answer his phone, she said.

According to Quy, a travel agent in HCM City"s District 1, customers must be careful when buying cheap tickets. Le Hieu, the manager of a travel website said, "It"s best for customers to know how to book ticket themselves. Moreover, Tet won"t come for another two months, so they can easily book a ticket for around VND3 million. The tickets are not as scarce as many people might have thought."

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