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“Free” Airline Tickets Scam
The New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) is warning consumers about on ongoing scam offering consumers two “free” roundtrip airline tickets.
Consumers around the state are receiving letters or mailers that deceptively appear to be from a well-known airline telling them they have qualified for 2 free roundtrip airline tickets to anywhere in the continental United States.  A telephone number is given, as well as a respond by date.  When the recipients call the telephone number listed, they are told they must attend a sales presentation for a vacation club membership before they can receive the tickets.  In the end, the recipients either never receive the “free” airline tickets or, if they do, find that they are very difficult to redeem because of fees and restrictions.  
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection would like to remind consumers to beware of unsolicited offers or rewards. To prevent falling victim to this type of scam, please take note of the following tips:

  • Research all offers. Be cautious.
  • Ignore unsolicited letters or e-mails claiming to be from a legitimate company.
  • If you receive mail from a company and you are unsure about it, call the company directly from your most recent statement or card, not by using the number given on the correspondence.
  • Remember the adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".
  • Act immediately if you provided personal identifiable information to unknown or unverified parties by notifying the companies with whom you have the accounts and by placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your files at credit reporting agencies.

For more information regarding scam prevention and mitigation, please contact the New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection at (518)-474-8583.

 


Visa Application Scam
The New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection is alerting United States visa applicants to be aware of phone calls from individuals posing as immigration officials from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These individuals may demand to know your personal information (such as your passport number, I-94 number, “A” number, or visa control number) or claim that a new fee for visa applications has been established.
For this scam, the actual phone number of the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services may register on the caller ID screen. The caller may already know your name and address and have knowledge of the type of visa you applied for. The individual may threaten to deny your application if you fail to comply.
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection warns consumers to be wary of phone calls requesting money or personal information. To prevent falling victim to this type of scam, please take note of the following tips:

  • Beware of callers who want your money fast or use high-pressured tactics. Ask the caller to send you written materials.
  • If you suspect the caller is attempting to commit fraud, hang up the phone.
  • Contact organizations or institutions to verify claims made in unsolicited phone calls or e-mails by calling the number provided on official company statements.
  • Act immediately if you provided personal identifiable information to unknown or unverified parties by notifying the companies with whom you have the accounts and by placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your files at credit reporting agencies.

If you receive a phone call from an individual claiming to work for the USCIS, you may call 1-800-375-5283 to inform the real USCIS to determine whether the call was legitimate.
For more information regarding scam prevention and mitigation, please contact the New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection at (518)-474-8583.


Disney Vacation Scam
The New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection is advising consumers to be vigilant when seeking the services of travel agencies claiming to arrange accommodations and book tickets for Disney vacations.
In some instances consumers have paid agencies to arrange Disney trips only to find out said service was never performed.   The scammers may also use any personal information you give them to steal your identity.
It is important to keep in mind that offers that are too good to be true probably are. When considering doing business with a travel agency, please keep in mind the following tips:

  • Research the agency's status by contacting the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection and/or the Better Business Bureau.
  • Avoid giving cash or checks. The New York State Division of Consumer Protection recommends paying for services with a credit card whenever possible and to be wary of agencies that do not accept credit cards as a form of payment.
  • Act immediately if you provided personal identifiable information to unknown or unverified parties by notifying the companies with whom you have the accounts and by placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your files at credit reporting agencies.

For more information regarding scam prevention and mitigation, please contact the New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection at (518)-474-8583.