Police were tipped off to the alleged fraud at the travel agency on July 15 when officers were sent to Elvie’s Boutique and Travel at 550 E. Eighth St. to mediate an argument between the owner and a customer who prepaid for plane tickets to the Philippines, but found that they were not obtained, according to a National City police statement.
Several other agency customers have come forward with similar allegations, including a family that was stranded in the Philippines allegedly because of the agency’s inaction.
Police have since launched an investigation into the travel agency over the allegations of grand theft and fraud.
The business also has only 1-star reviews on Yelp, with customers complaining of the owner’s unwillingness to accept credit cards and flight plans that didn’t pan out.
Police advised those making large travel purchases to avoid travel fraud by using credit cards instead of checks or money orders and validating bookings made through a third party with the airline or hotel prior to departure. Better Business Bureau ratings and online search tools also can be used to research complaints against a travel agency or other business prior to making purchases, police said.
Police asked anyone who may have been a victim of Elvie’s Boutique and Travel or who have information on the incidents to call Investigator Tom DiZinno at (619) 336-4473.
– City News Service
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