COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — After a year at home, many are now ready to travel and are surfing the web to book a summer vacation. Jessica Kapcar with the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio (BBB) said some deals you find online are just too good to be true.

“A lot of times when we see these fake websites, we see something that is so similar to a reputable brand, it’s just easy to get confused,” said Kapcar.

The BBB has seen a rise in reports of con artists making fake airline ticket booking sites.

“Typically, what we’re seeing is that third-party website,” said Kapcar. “So, you know, buy your tickets for Delta through us.”

Those fake sites end up costing travelers a lot more than advertised.

“They contact the airline to confirm some things, and the airline tells them that their flight has never actually been booked.”

This is happening locally.

“We have seen a couple reports of that in Central Ohio,” said Kapcar. “Somebody clicked on that website and found out that, ‘We just need this much more money, and we need a little bit more money to finalize this, and if you want to upgrade then you can pay this amount of money.'”

BBB tips to steer clear of travel scams:

  • Research a company before making any purchases
  • Double-check the u-r-l — to make sure the link is secure
  • Don’t click on links that redirect you to a different website
  • Always use a credit card for payment, so you can dispute the charges if you get duped

“A credit card has a little bit more protection put in place,” said Kapcar. “If you are wiring money or using a money order, that’s basically like using cash. Once that money is gone, it’s gone, and there’s really no way you can get it back.”

The BBB says this scam appears to focus on airline reservations, but you should also be wary of websites offering deep discounts for hotels, vacation rentals, and rental cars. If you come across one of these websites, report it to the BBB https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker.