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The Better Business Bureau (BBB) published an new scam alert earlier this month about fake Global Entry sign up sites duping travelers into giving money and personal information.
Global entry is part of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler Network (which includes TSA Precheck). It’s expedites border entry process for U.S. Citizens.
The BBB notes that is has received several reports of misleading websites. Here’s how they say it works:
- Traveler does a web search for Global Entry Application
- Not surprisingly, the real website (CBP.gov) shows up…but so does a very similar looking website or ad.
- You click the ad (instead of CPB) and you find a company willing to do all the work for you
- You may be asked to share personal info like name, passport # and home address, plus pay the $100.00 the government charges for the service AND a separate fee for the service
What the BBB is saying is that you’ve been duped into paying extra money to fill out and complete the form. And, now they have your personal info and your credit card.
Here are the CBoardingGroup, we did a test to see if we could find any of these companies. Here’s our results on a few different search platforms including Google, Yahoo and Bing:
Google – showed the following ads from companies offering this service:
These fellas (Expedite HQ) at least look / seem like a real company.
Yahoo – an ad from a company offering this service showed up. See below:
Bing – see results below (same company shows up, plus another one)
Let’s look deeper.
Important Note: We are not suggesting that all of these companies are, in fact, scammers. While certainly you could argue they are unscrupulous in offering a service that is totally and utterly unneeded, we did not investigate these companies any further nor do we know definitively they are scamming anyone. For all we know they are legit companies in good standing offering a real service. We just think the service is highway robbery AND some of them certainly FEEL scammy to me… BUYER BEWARE.
According to the BBB’s report, there are some legit scam companies out there and they didn’t name names in their report. So, again, be careful.
You might be interested in 7 Cyber Security Travel Tips: Don’t get hacked on your business trip:
How to to avoid getting scammed?
The BBB offers the following tips (with some color commentary from us) on how to avoid getting scammed when applying for Global Entry:
- Visit the official CBP website, first. You will find you don’t need a 3rd party service and the process is not that hard.
- If you feel you must use a 3rd party, read the fine print.
- Make sure the business is legit. Do some simple research like we did. If your radar goes off move along. Legit companies will have established office, mailing and physical addresses, phone numbers, etc.
Our advice to readers…do this yourself. It’s NOT THAT HARD. Save yourself the money, and reduce the chances of you getting scammed.
Check out our other travel safety articles:
- 9 Travel Safety Tips to help you stay safe on your next trip
- 14 Travel Safety Articles: A Roundup of Traveller Safety Posts from Early 2019
- How to stay safe when traveling to Thailand – 6 simple steps
- 7 Cyber Security Travel Tips: Don’t get hacked on your business trip
- 9 Hotel Safety Tips – You Need to Know
- The Traveller’s First Aid Kit – the savvy road warrior is always prepared
If you’ve been a victim
The BBB notes the following for victims:
“If you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it on the BBB.org/ScamTracker. By doing so, you can help others protect themselves from falling prey to similar scams. Learn more about scams at BBB.org/ScamTips and learn how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.”
By the way…here is the official website you visit to sign up for Global Entry: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry
For more travel related news, check out our travel news section.
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