I'm talking with someone on Craigslist says he's an airline employee who has 2 first class ticket vouchers for sale. He says this is the process:

I have a couple available and I’m a supervisor for [airline name] and there actually extra tickets my mom friend was suppose to use but she didn’t. There vouchers with [airline name] good for trips 1200 and under in dollar amounts. All tickets are booked first and once booked there able to be verified with full name and confirmation number through the official [airline name] website online or official [airline name] app with full name and confirmation number

I know there are some red flags (Craigslist, airline vouchers). I know there's a scam that used to involve selling tickets/vouchers bought with a stolen credit card.

Does this sound legit? Any thoughts on how to verify the vouchers/transaction?

  • 1
    "There vouchers with [airline name] good for trips 1200 and under in dollar amounts." The grammar is less than stellar, possibly indicating the person is not a native English speaker. Not hard evidence of a scam, but something else to be concerned about.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 0:51
  • 7
    Typically it is against the rules for airline employees to sell these vouchers, and if found out the employee may lose their job and you will probably be stranded. They also usually don't give out first-class tickets to employees, so they may either be stolen, or counterfeit.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 1:36
  • 2
    @RonBeyer "so they may either be stolen, or counterfeit." Or simply not even exist. Either way, even with a 10' barge-pole I wouldn't touch it.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 7:50
  • "good for trips 1200 and under" No first class ticket would ever cost less than $1200.
    – void_ptr
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 3:24

3 Answers 3


You asked,

Does this sound legit?

No. It does not sound legit. For a number of reasons:

  • Employees are almost always explicitly forbidden from selling vouchers they may receive. Even non-employees who receive vouchers for various reasons are often not allowed to transfer or sell them.
  • Ticket purchase scams are, as you identified, very common. Purchasing and then re-selling "cash equivalent" items (gift cards, vouchers, tickets, etc) gives criminals a way to turn credit cards into cash without attaching any of their own personal details to the transaction.

You also asked,

Any thoughts on how to verify the vouchers/transaction?

The main reason why I'm answering is to address this part of your question. Ticket scams are effective mainly because criminals are often able to lull their victims into a sense of security by presenting them with an opportunity to verify the ticket. This is even mentioned right in the text you posted:

there able to be verified with full name and confirmation number through the official [airline name] website online or official [airline name] app with full name and confirmation number

There are many ways this can be faked, but the most common are,

  • The scammer has set up their own website and/or app (or may be doctoring up screen shots of a real website). They may then email you a link to this fake website as a way to verify the tickets. This can be especially devious because this fake website may also be used as a way to steal your identity (i.e. if it collects your personal information as a way to order the tickets, or if it collects your airline account username and password as a way to steal your identity so the criminal can rob you of your airline points).
  • The scammer may actually direct you to look at the real airline website. In fact, the scammer may actually purchase a real ticket for you. The trick is, they will do this with a stolen credit card, or a payment method that is otherwise not legitimate. The scammer may even use airline points they've stolen from another victim (see bullet above) to buy your ticket. Then, after buying you a real but illegitimate ticket, they will take your money as payment for the "voucher." Eventually, (probably very quickly) the airline will catch the fraudulent activity, and they will come after you as if you had committed the fraud.

If you really feel the need to buy tickets or vouchers from a random person on Craigslist, and you are looking for ways to legitimately validate the other party, keep in mind that scammers know you will attempt this and they may have other tricks which let them "fake" the validation process. With that in mind, I don't think it's ever wise to actually attempt to validate a suspected scam. Anything you do could be faked by the scammer, or used to further trap you in some unanticipated way. But even if you did make reasonable attempts, it will likely be clear that this is a scam:

  • Contact the airline and ask them to facilitate the transfer. (of course, they will surely tell you that they don't do this: which in effect answers your question as to the validity of the whole concept).
  • Contact the airline and ask them to validate that the scammer (err, employee) you're talking to is actually a supervisor and is allowed to legitimately sell you these vouchers. Ask them what the official method is for transferring ownership of a voucher and then follow that process (again, expect them to simply say that this is not legitimate).
  • Tell the scammer you will agree to purchase the voucher as long as you can make payment through an official third party escrow who will release the funds once you have completed your trip. Of course, they will tell you they're not interested, because they know you will never actually make this trip.

At the end of the day, this might leave you with a reasonable follow up question: what should you do now? It's important for everyone's sake to alert proper authorities about potential scams:

  • Flag the Craigslist posting as a potential scam and let Craigslist handle this according to their policies.
  • Since the scam named a specific airline, report the scam to that airline. Many airlines have an anti-fraud department who will be interested in knowing about the scam. Scammers sometimes target specific airlines (or banks, or merchants) because they know of a weakness in that airline's policies. Reporting the attempted scam may help the airline identify the weakness and correct it.

Closing the loop, this guy was a scammer. When we asked for confirmation of the tickets, he sent a receipt that looked like a legit ticket on Delta. You had to read carefully to see that it was only a reservation and not a ticket. I was surprised how closely it resembled a paid ticket. I think it would have fooled a lot of people who had gotten that far.

This was a pretty sophisticated scam. The guy sounded legit, added just enough detail to seem like a real person without going overboard, presented himself professionally, and wasn't pushy.


Believe it or not, I have been successful with buying airline tickets off of craigslist. But know that you are taking a risk. Maybe start with a small trip for an amount you wouldn't mind losing and see if it works, then just keep them in your rolodex if they turn out to be legit. I ended up using my guy for years.

Nowadays I just do flight deals or fare errors, but I definitely miss having a hook up.

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