Senators call on FTC to guard against travel scams

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

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Two U.S. senators called on the Federal Trade Commission in a letter Thursday to do more to protect American consumers from travel scams.

Responding to reports that there has been an increase in travel- and tourism-related fraud — such as scammers posing as travel advisors or creating fake airline websites to sell counterfeit tickets — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., wrote the FTC’s acting chair, Rebecca Slaughter, to ask the agency provide information on any actions it has taken to address the issue and how it plans to prevent such crime going forward.

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“While the FTC posts advisories pertaining to travel scams, we believe that more must be done to protect consumers,” the Senators wrote. “Travel reservations made on fraudulent websites can be costly and stressful for travelers, 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.” 

Klobuchar and Daines note in their letter that as vaccination rates pick up and restrictions are lifted nationwide, some 67% of Americans say they’re planning to travel this summer. In addition, they cite a recent FTC report that found consumers overall have lost more than $400 million to fraudsters since the pandemic began more than a year ago. 

Klobuchar, a co-chair of the Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus, has been active in advocating for U.S. travelers. In March, she and the other three caucus members wrote Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo asking what steps the department was taking to help the travel and tourism industry recover from the pandemic and to promote the “Brand USA” public-private marketing partnership.

In February, Klobuchar and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., introduced the Protecting Tourism in the United States Act “to improve tourism across the country by studying the effects of the pandemic on the travel and tourism industry and identifying key policy recommendations,” according to her office.

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