Two Suspects Defrauded a ‘Major European Airline’ Out of $500,000 By Posing as Bogus Travel Agents, Police Allege

Two suspects managed to defraud an unnamed major European airline out of CAD $500,000 by posing as fake travel agents and selling 250 valid airline tickets to unsuspecting customers, Canadian police allege.

According to the Peel Regional Police, the two suspects convinced the airline that they were bona fide employees of a travel agency in the United Kingdom in order to gain access to the airline’s secure booking portal.

Between June 2021 and December 2021, the alleged fraudsters sold more than 250 airline tickets at a value of more than $500,000 through this portal. The suspects collected the payments from the passengers but never passed on the funds to the airline.

The Peel Regional Police department says a joint investigation with the Fraud Bureau found that the majority of the passengers lived in the Calgary area and had bought tickets to visit destinations in Africa.

Adebowale Adiatu, 32, was arrested and charged with several fraud offenses back in January, and Gbemisola Akinrinade, 44, was arrested and charged with a slew of fraud offenses on February 24.

Investigators have not said whether the airline honored the tickets after they discovered what had happened.

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Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate

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Avoiding travel scams when planning for spring break

Mar. 7—Spring break offers families and students an opportunity to travel during a vacation from school. However, it also provides a chance for scammers to offer fraudulent vacation rentals, third-party booking sites and travel agencies designed to appeal to the consumer looking to get away. With spring break for many Texas school districts occurring Mar. 13-17, BBB reminds consumers to be wary of travel-related scams as they make their plans and finalize payments.

From February — Mar. 31, 2022, US consumers reported over $150,000 lost to travel scams to BBB Scam Tracker and more than 60,000 reports to the FTC in 2022 resulted in over $100 million lost. Scammers often take advantage of consumer habits and capitalize on trending internet searches, enticing consumers with great deals to popular destinations or all-inclusive packages. While these scams persist year-round, they often increase in frequency during periods of increased travel, such as spring break and the holiday or summer season.

To assist consumers in identifying and avoiding the most common travel scams, BBB provides the following brief descriptions of the top five most-reported travel scams:

—Vacation rental con. These con artists lure vacationers with the promise of low fees and great amenities. The “owner” creates a false sense of urgency — such as telling potential clients that another vacationer is interested in the rental — to get payment up before doing sufficient research or questioning the legitimacy of the ad.

—”Free” vacation scams. When a cruise or travel company advertises a vacation as

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