Authorities Investigate Travel Agency Fraud

OCEAN CITY – Dozens of local residents have allegedly been
duped out of thousands of dollars in vacation money by a former West Ocean City
travel agency.

Worcester Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) officials
announced this week they had received several complaints throughout April and
early May from local residents who booked vacations with the former Seaside
Travel in West Ocean City only to find out their money had been collected but the
trips were never booked. According to WCBI, the victims paid Seaside Travel for
their vacations via credit card, cash or check, but when they prepared to leave
for their Caribbean or foreign destinations, the victims found their trips were
never booked and arrangements were never made.

Seaside Travel in West Ocean City changed hands in April.
The new owners, operating as Oasis Travel, have been left trying to sort out
the mess that was none of their doing while struggling to earn and keep their
business reputation.

The investigation has led to approximately 25 alleged
victims at this time although new complaints are coming in daily, according to
WCBI officials.

One victim, Michelle Webster, of West Ocean City, said
this week she booked a trip with Seaside Travel for November and paid $5,800,
only to find out her credit card had been charged but her trip had never been
booked.

“Thankfully, I found out about this before I was standing
at an airport terminal with no travel plans booked,” she said. “They took my
credit card and paid for somebody else’s trip. I’ve been working with my credit
card company to recoup my losses, but I’m not sure what is going to happen.
It’s a pretty big mess.”

Webster said she had heard of several other local
residents in the same boat, so to speak, including a local paramedic who had
won or earned a trip through the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company.

Anyone
who booked a trip with the travel company is urged to call WCBI at
410-352-3476. 

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