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‘Show me your photos’: Woman looking for flight refund gets bizarre request

Last Updated Jul 13, 2021 at 6:43 pm EDT

Speakers Corner is back! CityNews wants to hear from you. We’ve been asking you to send us interesting stories, videos or questions you want answered. The Queen Street booth maybe a thing of the past, but we’re still listening and want to hear what’s on your mind.

This week, a woman who was trying to get a flight refund is speaking out about her very strange experience.

Like many others, COVID restrictions disrupted Preni Jani’s travel plans.

“Due to those restrictions I was unable to take a flight I paid for,” she explained.

She bought the WestJet ticket online using FlightHub where she also purchased insurance.

When restrictions did not allow her to take the flight, she called what she thought was FlightHub’s customer service line and the person she spoke with told her to buy a google gift card for the amount of the flight, which was $250.

“They said once I buy the card, they would do a reverse payment into my bank account.”

The payment never came but the gift card was used.

“I called back and they told me they needed to verify my information and asked me to screen share my phone.”

That’s when things got very strange.

“The person asked to see my photos on my phone. That’s when I knew something wasn’t right,” Jani said. “I then asked to speak to a manager and they hung up.”

Jani then decided to call WestJet and within minutes they sent her a flight voucher for the full amount to take another flight.

“I wish I had done that in the first place, WestJet was very accommodating,” she said. “While I got the money back for the ticket, I was still out the additional $250 I spent on that gift card.”

CityNews reached out to FlightHub.

“We have never and would never request any customer to buy gift cards in order to cancel a ticket or receive a refund,” a spokesperson told us.

According to FlightHub the phone number Jani reached out to does not belong to them. She was scammed.

She told us she found the phone number online after searching for a contact for FlightHub. Unfortunately, the search results led her to a number that was part of a scam and not affiliated with FlightHub at all.

CityNews tried repeatedly to call the number but it’s no longer in service.

Despite having no role in the gift card fiasco, FlightHub reached out to Jani after we shared her story with the company.

“They agreed to pay me for the $250 I spent on the gift card,” Jani told CityNews.

According to the Better Business Bureau, scam artists often put fake phone numbers on the top of online search results to catch people. The B.B.B. has some advice on its website.

“Refer to contact information listed directly on the business’s website, instead of relying on an internet search for support phone numbers (double check the URL). You can also use the phone number from your latest bill or confirmation email.”

Jani learned this the hard way but is telling her story to warn others.

“I just think there are a lot of people who don’t know this and I hope my story helps them in some way,” she said.

If you have a story, issue or question you’d like us to look into, reach out to us here.