Consumer Alert: Winter blues

Updated: 12/27/2013 6:55 PM
Created: 12/27/2013 4:58 PM WHEC.com

It's the time of the year when sun and sand sounds pretty good. But News10NBC has a warning for those of you looking forward to a getaway to kick the winter blues. Be careful of travel deals offered by telemarketers or that perfect trip away could end up costing you in the long run.

Imagine finding a travel package to Florida for $300 or the Bahamas for $500.

Brian Haraway, U.S. Postal Inspector, said, “These packages were deeply discounted. Normally, trips like these would cost around $1,000 or so.”

What sounded too good to be true, was too good to be true.

Haraway said, "There were many instances where victims found out just one or two days before that there were no travel packages and they were deeply disappointed."

In fact, in this case, more than 24,000 bogus travel packages were sold nationwide. Total losses were more than $12 million.

Haraway said, “There was another instance where families had planned a family reunion and they found out there was no packages and it affected the entire family."

Postal inspectors began tracking numerous complaints.

Haraway said, “The business was under surveillance, a search was conducted at the business location and we were able to follow the scam and found out who was victimized."

The company in this instance was shutdown and the main suspect in the case was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of over $167,000.


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