While fax machines would seem to be outdated technology, many are still in use, especially at small businesses.
Scammers are relying on this fact to steal money from unsuspecting victims.
Travel deal site Hotwire.com has issued a warning that its name is being used in one of these scams. The company reports it has learned that businesses, and even individuals, have received faxes that appear to come from Hotwire.
The faxes even display on old Hotwire logo and appear to offer vacation packages at steep discounts. The faxes appear to be memos from the “H.R. Department,” alerting “all employees” of the travel bargains.
“Consumers should be aware that the only legitimate way to book travel on Hotwire is through its website: www.hotwire.com, or by calling the customer care number: 1-866-468-9473,” Hotwire said in a statement. “Hotwire does not engage in telemarketing or send faxes soliciting travel deals.”
The company advises anyone who receives one of these faxes not to respond. If the fax says the offer is from Hotwire, it is not. If you call the number listed on the fax you will be connected with someone whose sole purpose is to steal your money.
Consuners should never provide personal or payment information over the phone to any individuals reached at phone numbers listed on the fax solicitations.
Hotwire says it would also like to be notified of any of these bogus travel offers you receive. They can be reported at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Your escalations help to ensure we are aware of any new variations on the scam, and may aide in identification of the fraudulent actors responsible,” the company said.
More travel scams
Travel scams are a common trap because travel can be expensive and consumers are often attracted to what they perceive as a deal. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) spends a lot of time investigating travel scam complaints.
Among the things the agency says consumers should look out for are promises of free or discounted trips and phony rental listings.
The FTC says consumers should get a trusted recommendation before booking through an unknown agency, call the hotel or cruise line directly to verify reservations, and pay with a credit card. That way, if the trip turns out to be a scam, you can dispute the charge.