Scammer snares holidaymakers

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 February 2019: A travel agency conned 120 Malaysians out of their hard earned cash for a non existent holiday to Europe, according to a report posted on the online news service Kosmo at the weekend.

They were stranded at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) last Friday after the airline informed them they were not listed as passengers on a flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

Hailing from towns in the northern and southern states of Malaysia, the holidaymakers had been conned into paying up-front for a package tour to Europe featuring Istanbul, Paris and Santorini, a Greek island.

Kosmo reported that the 120 scam victims were out of pocket for around MYR810,000.  

A representative from the travel agency failed to turn up at the airport as promised in the tour itinerary, but some of the scam victims said they had received text messages claiming the outbound flight had been cancelled.

There have been other cases of Malaysian scammers claiming to be a legit travel agency and selling bogus tours that required advance payments.

In one incident last year a bogus travel agency scammed, 23 people who lost MYR53,000 on non-existent holiday itineraries.

The moral of the story is always do a background check on travel agencies ahead of paying for a tour and check the official members listing of travel agency associations. However, some associations do not allow access to the members’ directory on their websites or the information is outdated.  Also, check Facebook pages as genuine travel agencies will update posts and there is usually customer feedback in the comments.