If you’re a frequent traveler, you may consider applying to the Global Entry program, which cuts down wait times in airport border security checkpoints. But watch out! BBB.org/ScamTracker has received reports about misleading websites that fool people into handing over money and sensitive personal information.
How the Scam Works
You do a web search for the Global Entry application. The official CBP.gov website appears high up in your results. But also listed is another website, likely an ad, that has been skillfully designed to look very similar to the official one.
When you click on the link, you find a third-party company that offers to do all the paperwork. You are asked to fill out a form with your personal information, including your full name, passport number and home address. Then, you are prompted to pay $100 (the amount the government charges) plus another fee for the third-party service.
In reality, scammers have tricked you into paying extra money to complete the form on the official government website. Also, they now have access to your personal information and credit card details.
Protect Yourself from Third-party Service Scams
- Visit the official website first. When applying for government services, first visit the official website and read up on the application process. You will likely find there is no need for a third-party service.
- Read the fine print. If you do decide to use a third-party service for an application process, read the fine print carefully. Scammers often create websites that appear to offer additional services but they simply charge consumers for free information or for services they could easily do themselves.
- Make sure a business is legitimate. Look up the business you are planning to use on BBB.org before you make a payment or share your personal information. There, you can find the business rating, reviews, and any complaints.