Travel offer scams involve informing consumers they have won a vacation or are eligible for an amazing travel deal- even when there is no actual trip or special offer. The purpose of travel offer scams is to somehow collect money from consumers under false pretenses. It is illegal to operate or to become involved with travel scams, and violating the law could result in federal criminal charges or prosecution in the state where the crimes took place.
Bukh Law Firms, PLLC is a New York criminal defense firm with extensive experience representing clients in consumer fraud cases and representing clients accused of all types of fraud crimes. Defendants who want a knowledgeable, aggressive legal team to handle their case should contact Bukh Law Firms, PLLC today to find out about how we can represent your interests throughout your involvement with the criminal justice system.
What are Travel Offer Scams?
Travel offer scams all involve making false statements or misleading statements about travel opportunities in order to obtain money or personal information. Examples of travel offer scams include:
- Free vacation offers: Phone, email, or telephone is used to inform someone they have won a free cruise or other vacation. They just need to pay a booking charge and some small taxes. There is no actual free vacation and the purpose is to get money or financial information.
- Travel club scams: People pay a fee to join a “travel club” in order to get a free or a discounted vacation. Additional fees are then charged as a “handling” fee or to book the trip. In some cases, those operating this scheme take credit card information but in other situations the scam only involves collecting the fees. Those who paid are usually told their preferred travel dates are unavailable, and are asked to pay additional costs to “upgrade” their membership. Usually, no vacation is ever offered, but if a vacation is provided the accommodations are substandard and low-cost.
- Fraudulent vacation rentals: A great deal on a vacation rental house is offered, with deposit. The deposit is made, but the house is not actually owned by the person perpetrating the scam so the person who paid the deposit loses the money.
- Timeshare resale scams: Timeshare owners are told they can sell their time share, and that a buyer may even be interested in already- but the timeshare owner must pay a fee to connect with the buyer. After the fee is paid, it turns out that there is no buyer nor any actual way to sell the timeshare.
- International Driver’s License Scams. Fake “international driver’s licenses” are sold for high prices. Ads are frequently placed on foreign language newspapers and claim that the licenses can be used as photo ID or to legally drive in the United States. The fake licenses are not legitimate.
These are just a few different examples of how travel scams work. Whenever money, financial information or identifying information is obtained by falsely offering travel opportunities, the fraud could be classified as a travel scam. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON:
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Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Penalties for Travel Scams
Civil actions and criminal prosecution are both very real possibilities for anyone accused of becoming involved in a travel scam. The Federal Trade Commission, U.S Attorneys, local law enforcement agencies, and law enforcement agencies in countries worldwide may all come together to prosecute defendants allegedly involved in travel offer scams.
The FTC, for example, announced that more than 191 actions were taken in 2013 against three travel fraud operations that had collected more than $18 million from consumers trying to sell timeshare properties. These defendants were faced with state and federal charges for crimes including theft, unlicensed telemarketing, impersonating government officials, mail fraud, wire fraud, debit and credit card fraud, and identity theft crimes, among others.
Any defendants accused of similar offenses related to misleading consumers could also face multiple charges. Those involved in fraud schemes can be charged not only for their own actions, but also for alleged wrongdoing committed by co-conspirators. Federal offenses like mail and wire fraud each carry a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, or 30 years if the crime involved defrauding a financial institution. Because of the severity of the penalties, it is important to immediately begin developing an effective legal strategy when accused of involvement with travel scams.
How a NY Defense Lawyer Can Help If You’re Accused of Travel Scams
Don’t just accept that accusations against you could lead to prison time or forced repayment of funds. There are always options for defending against charges or negotiating plea deals if you have the knowledge and skills to make the law work for you.
At Bukh Law Firms, PLLC we have represented many clients accused of serious consumer fraud crimes. We know how to develop effective trial strategies and strategic plans for defense so you can avoid or minimize consequences of conviction. Call us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.