- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2021

A pair of senators told the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday to protect Americans against travel scams as vaccinated persons splurge on big trips.

Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, said two-thirds of Americans report they plan to travel this summer after the devastating pandemic.

“At the same time, recent reports highlight an increase in incidents of scammers posing as travel or booking agents to book fraudulent vacation rentals and creating fraudulent airline websites to sell fake tickets,” they wrote to acting FTC Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter. “We are concerned by these reports of consumers being targeted by scammers, particularly given the recent FTC report highlighting that consumers have lost nearly $400 million to fraud since the start of the pandemic.”

They said FTC advisories about scams might not be enough. They want the agency to coordinate with the Justice Department to hold bad actors accountable. They also want to know if the commission is collecting data on scams and sharing it with law enforcement partners.

The senators asked the FTC if it needed more resources to protect people from scams and if it is prepared to help victims who get caught in the scammers’ web.

“Travel reservations made on fraudulent websites can be costly and stressful for travelers,” the senators wrote, “and it is critical to ensure that Americans understand how to recognize travel scams and their recourse options should they fall victim to these scams.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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