News

Police warn residents of airline-voucher scam

Nationwide Internet scam is being reported in Palo Alto

Palo Alto police are warning residents about an ongoing, nationwide Internet scam involving the sale of counterfeit or fraudulently purchased airline vouchers. Police have received several calls recently about the scam, Detective Brian Philip stated in a press release.

The scammer generally posts an advertisement on craigslist.org or a similar website stating that he or she is selling airline vouchers for a discounted price, according to the release.

Usually the vouchers are listed as Southwest Airlines "Green Passes," which allow people to book any round-trip flight at any price for free. When a potential buyer makes contact, the scammer asks that payment be made via wire transfer, by check or with an online gift card.

To "prove" the offer is authentic, the scammer then e-mails the buyer a counterfeit copy of his or her driver's license with false information.

After payment has gone through, the scammer tends to discontinue contact with the buyer and does not deliver the promised vouchers. Once the vouchers are finally delivered, they are found to be counterfeit or purchased with stolen credit card information, Philip said.

The widespread nature of the scam indicates that many unrelated scammers are involved, Philip said. Before purchasing travel vouchers, residents are encouraged to contact the involved airline directly since many restrict or prohibit resale of such vouchers.

Police advise residents to be cautious when making any online purchases from strangers, especially those who ask for an unusual form of payment. Any Palo Alto residents who have experienced defrauding in a way similar to this should contact the Palo Alto Police Department.

View the press release

— Carolyn Copeland

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Meg
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2010 at 3:53 pm

PaloAltoOnline says "craigslist.org or a similar website" because they don't want to directly link Meg's company with criminal activity?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Governor Moonbeam
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Leave Meg and her former employer alone.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2010 at 4:40 pm

It does NOT matter whose company. People lets focus on the issue and culprits.

Thank you PAPD


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Meg
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Of course corporate complicity matters. Meg could have implemented stricter controls on illegal activity if she wanted to, but she did not because it affected corporate profits. What percentage of her paycheck came from scams like this, as well as counterfeiting, drug paraphernalia, fencing stolen goods, and pornography. I've read that the vast majority of products sold in certain EBay categories are fraudulent.

Is Meg so ashamed of EBay that she now refers to them as only "her former employer"? What else does she have besides EBay?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LOL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Fact Check: craigslist and ebay are not the same company.

ebay owns a chunk of craigslist (acquired from an individual, not from the company) and craigslist pretty much hates them for it.


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