Travelers beware: Scammers spoofing government websites for fliers

PITTSBURGH — Travelers beware: A new scam is targeting people flying in and out of airports like Pittsburgh International.

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, more and more people are planning spring and summer getaways. The Better Business Bureau says scammers are taking notice and cashing in big time.

Through a series of fake websites, scammers are targeting airline travelers. Specifically, the websites being spoofed are for expedited travel programs, such as the government’s TSA Precheck and Global Entry.

In some instances, scammers are charging people extremely high fees, all while asking for personal information, including social security numbers, payment and banking details.

“The Better Business Bureau has been receiving a lot of scam tracker reports recently regarding con artists creating these lookalike websites where people are conducting just Google searches for TSA Precheck, and they’re clicking on one of the first search results, not recognizing that the website is a third-party company impersonating the government site,” Caitlin Driscoll, public relations director for the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania, said.

The BBB says to double-check the website URL. It should start with https://, include a lock icon and end with a .gov.

Officials also say to always pay with a credit card.

“Any fraudulent charges made with a credit card can usually be disputed, but unfortunately, there’s no real way to get back any personal info you may disclose to an untrustworthy website,” Driscoll said.

If you fall victim, the BBB says to report it.