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ConsumerWatch: Fax Machine Used To Lure Travel Scam Victims

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GERMANY EARNS LUFTHANSA

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – In the age of email, we’re used to deciphering what’s real from junk. But travel experts say some scammers are going back to the fax push phony deals. Julie Watts reports.

Phong Nguyen, who’s been trying to plan a vacation, said when he found a  deal to Hawaii for $199 he decided to take his entire family on vacation. But before paying, his wife Phoung Nguyen made sure the dates they were planning to travel were available.

“He said anytime any day is wide open you can have it any time,” Nguyen said.

The Nguyen’s booked their dream vacation for March 20th through the 25th. But a few days later after the credit card payment went through the Nguyen’s said they made a shocking discovery.

“They said that no, that date is not available,” Nguyen said. Traveling expert Christopher Elliott said that’s no surprise. “They give you a window and say you can book between this date and that date then the dates won’t be available and they’ll keep your money,” he said.

But getting cracking down on this problem isn’t that easy said Elliott.

“One of the ways that scam artist like this delude the authority is that they operate out of a state that has little or no law enforcement for things like this,” he said.

The Nguyen’s then emailed ConsumerWatch where our producer Jessica Ayala called the company named Booking and Reservations and was told the Nguyen’s case would be looked into.

But when she called back, she was repeatedly hung up on.

“These guys are used to dealing with media scrutiny and they know exactly what to do and what to say,” Elliott said.

We then called again to book a trip to Hawaii, the same week as the Nguyen’s and were told those dates were available and there were no restrictions.

The Nguyen’s have filed a fraud dispute with their credit card company. Delta, who was listed as the airline on the deal, tells CBS 5 they are not affiliated with the company.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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