Warning: Beware of fake airline sites when booking travel

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The hurry associated with booking an airline ticket can have disastrous results if you’re not careful. That’s because fake airline websites are plentiful online.

One Michigan couple learned about these travel scam websites the hard way when one almost took them for $300.

How a couple was almost duped by a fake airline website

Hunter Pulaski and his wife Naomi Poel of Ada Township in Michigan were trying to Google Delta Air Lines to rebook a flight to Japan, according to USA Today.

Instead, they happened upon a site that looked like it was associated with Delta — but it wasn’t, the paper reports.

Money expert Clark Howard has been warning consumers about the scam known as “phishing” for quite some time. The scheme involves the use of fake websites, emails and other means to steal your personal info.

In the case of the Michigan couple, they paid the site $300 but went to Delta’s service desk to complain about about the rebooking fee they’d paid.

That’s when they found out the website they used was actually that of a third-party company — and that Delta would have rebooked the flight for free, according to USA Today. Delta eventually worked with the third-party site to get the couple’s money refunded.

How to protect yourself from fake travel websites

The moral of the story? Always take your time and read the fine print when booking online. Here are three other ways to protect yourself from a fake travel website and other phishing sites:

  • Look for bad grammar, spelling or nonsensical copy: The Michigan couple says the site’s “About Us” page included lyrics to “The Brady Bunch,” including the line “That’s the way we all become the Brady Bunch.”
  • Read the reviews: Before you spend any money on a site that looks legit, see if you can find reviews on reputable websites that can give you any insight.
  • Book directly on the airline’s website: If you can, try to always find the deal or the specific airline carrier’s website and purchase from there.

If you’re planning a trip soon, safety is no doubt your #1 concern. Here are four vacation scams to be aware of.

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