Laura got to the immigration office to apply for an international passport and met a crowd. While contemplating whether to wait and be late for work or request for a day leave from work, a gentle man approached her and told her he can help her register.
Moreover, He has connections with the immigration officers who will expedite the process seamlessly.
He took her to a container where he smoothly talk her into registering with him and she paid immediately and went her way. As expected, that was the end of the journey (time and money wasted).
There are more painful stories around Visa applications handled by fake travel agencies and the loss sometimes is way more than money paid.
So here are solid ways to avoid being scammed by these fake travel agencies;
1. Before you employ the service of any travel agency, you must do a background check online.
The following are what you need to check when doing a background check;
- Do they have a formal website with online address, email address and contact?
- Testimonials and ratings
- Years of existence
- Not registered with any commission
2. They do not have a particular office location belonging to them. This is because they do not want to have a location where they can be tagged or arrested. So they use random offices where the owners of the offices can easily deny them.
The response you would hear when you go back is- We do not know him, many free lance travel agents come here to photocopy, coalate documents and while doing that, attend to their clients. We have no tie with any of them
3. As is known for all scams, the offers and timelines that would be given to get your Visa approved, passport or even travel ticket would look too good to be true.
4. Service Cost: Everybody loves when they are able to get promo services which is good. However, in some cases, paying the right fee for a service will save you a lot of headaches and stress. Beware of travel agencies billing way lower than the standard price. It would most likely be a scam.
5. For someone who has travelled a lot, I’m sure the surest ways to get a good travel agency is referral from friends and families that have successfully used them. Also, you must understand that employing the service of travel agencies is very important as they are always up to date with new travel policies and new documents required.
Using them also reduces back and forth with the embassies. Embassies requirements in my experience must be followed to the letter or your application would not be processed and this is why I would advise to use travel agencies but try not to be scammed of your hard earned money.