Scam Alert: Beware of cheap travel packages

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-17 18:45:07-05

With all the cold weather and snow we've been having, sun and sandy beaches sound pretty tempting right now!

But beware of those cheap travel packages that are popping up all over. Imagine finding a travel package to Florida for $300 or the Bahamas for $500.

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

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

“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,” says Haraway.

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

“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,” says Haraway.

Postal inspectors began tracking numerous complaints.

“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,” says Haraway.

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