News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
650-329-2607
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301

7/1/2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE 07012010
Subject :

Police Warn the Public About a New Airline Voucher Scam
Contact : Detective Brian Philip, Palo Alto Police Department    650-329-2408
Detective James Reifschneider, Palo Alto Police Department    650-329-2559
    james.reifschneider@cityofpaloalto.org
Palo Alto, Ca - In recent weeks, Palo Alto Police have received several reports of an internet scam involving the sale of counterfeit or fraudulently-purchased airline vouchers.

Typically, the suspect places an advertisement on craigslist.org, or a similar website, stating that he has discounted airline vouchers for sale. Most commonly, the vouchers are described as Southwest Airlines "Green Passes". When contacted by a prospective buyer, the suspect requests that payment be remitted via wire transfer, check, or on-line gift card.

To prove that his offer is legitimate, the suspect then sends an email copy of his “driver's license” to the prospective buyer. In reality, the purported “drivers license” is counterfeit, and the information displayed is fictitious. Once the buyer has remitted payment, the suspect typically discontinues contact and fails to deliver the promised vouchers. When vouchers are delivered, they are later determined to be counterfeit, or to have been purchased via stolen credit card information.

This particular scam is widespread, with victims all around the country. As such, there are likely numerous unrelated suspects engaged in this type of fraudulent activity.

The public should contact the involved airline directly, prior to making any purchase of travel vouchers, as many airlines restrict or prohibit the re-sale of such vouchers.

Police warn residents to always be very cautious when making any on-line purchases from strangers, particularly those that demand an unusual method of payment.

Palo Alto residents who have been defrauded in this manner should contact the police department by calling the non-emergency number (650-329-2413)

For further information, please contact Financial Crimes Detective James Reifschneider at 650-329-2559 or james.reifschneider@cityofpaloalto.org.





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