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Organizers of Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld event for travel advisors, taking place Nov. 13 to 15 in Fort Lauderdale, have issued a cease-and-desist letter to a fraudulent enterprise that has been offering travel advisors, agencies and suppliers what it claims is a list of the event’s attendees.
The organizers are now also warning recipients of the email that the list is bogus.
“We don’t post our attendee list anywhere,” said Alicia Evanko-Lewis, senior vice president of travel group events at Northstar Travel Group, which publishes Travel Weekly.
Evanko-Lewis said the emails are from fake businesses and that they have plagued the events industry for years. Their ultimate objective is to obtain a credit card number from an attendee or vendor that can be used for fraud.
Northstar has sent cease-and-desist letters to the internet addresses of several individuals who have been circulating the emails.
Because Northstar does not make the list public, any offered list is either fake or stolen, the letter asserts.
Evanko-Lewis said that anyone receiving one of the emails should disregard it. Most importantly, she said, recipients should not book hotel rooms through links included in the emails.
“Never just try to [use] Google,” Evanko-Lewis said. “Some of these scammers will set up fake websites, so somehow they will have [your search] redirect to a page that might give you their information for booking a hotel room.”
She said that although bogus sites can be very persistent, with repeated emails or phone calls, travel advisors “should ignore them and just forward them immediately to the event organizer,” Theresa Bednarczyk, at email@example.com.
CruiseWorld attendees are typically travel advisors who specialize in cruises. The convention has been held in Fort Lauderdale annually since 2012. One of the largest live events directed at cruise specialists, it includes workshops, networking events and a trademark exhibitor showcase.