- Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Steve Daines wrote the FTC to ask the agency to address a rise in travel and tourism scams.
- "It is critical to ensure that Americans understand how to recognize travel scams and their recourse options should they fall victim to these scams," the senators said in a letter.
- The FTC says consumers have lost over $400 million to fraudsters since the pandemic began.
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 of increased fraud in travel and tourism — such as scammers posing as travel advisors or creating fake airline websites to sell counterfeit tickets — Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., asked FTC acting Chair Rebecca Slaughter to disclose any actions it has taken to address the issue and explain how it plans to prevent such crimes.
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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 three other 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.