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Call Kurtis Investigates: Placer County couple with baby scammed escaping Maui

Couple vacationing in Maui scammed by someone posing as Southwest Airlines rep
Couple vacationing in Maui scammed by someone posing as Southwest Airlines rep 03:54

LINCOLN -- A Lincoln couple vacationing in Maui with their baby says they were scammed trying to escape the island. It was time to call Kurtis to investigate.

On Maui, with their eight month old, celebrating five years of marriage, Megan and Kevin Morgan canceled their anniversary dinner plans in Lahaina hours just before the fire leveled the town.

"And we're kind of like, 'Let's just make the call.' With the baby, it's too much to be over there," Megan said.

Kimo's Restaurant on Front Street where they planned to eat is gone. It's the same street where cars are torched, and where dozens died.

"It's still something I can't even wrap my head around," Megan said.

With smoke in the air late into the overnight hours, the couple at their hotel 30 miles away in Wailea decided to check their options to get off the island.

As their baby is slept, she called a Southwest number she Googled and gave their confirmation numbers.

"And then he says, it's going to be like $200 or something to change," Megan said. "And I'm like, 'No, no, no, there shouldn't be change fees. This is Southwest. And he says, on the phone, 'I've told you four times now, this is how much it costs if you want to change it."

She refused to give a credit card number and hung up.

But when she later logged onto her Southwest reservation, a message popped out that their their reservation for the flight home was canceled.

Megan then realized the number she called in the middle of the night from that Google search was not Southwest, but a scammer.

With the Morgans' names and confirmation number, the scammer canceled their flights home and used the flight credits to book a flight for someone else on the East Coast.

"I've never heard of this. I've never heard of this scam. I'm pretty aware of certain, you know, different ways people are scamming other people, but I have never heard of this and it's obviously very sophisticated," Megan said.

And by then, the flights home were full, forcing them to stay two extra days and pay out of pocket to book an Hawaiian Airlines flight home - an added expense of $3,400.

We reached out to Southwest about their security measures and the company responded with this statement: "We are disheartened to learn that a customer was taken advantage of by someone impersonating one of our employees. Our customer engagement team is in touch with the customer to learn more as well as offer assistance, and we are investigating the matter internally."

The Morgans don't call themselves victims, knowing their dinner cancelation may have saved their lives.

"You just think of how scary that must have been and I cannot imagine what that would be like having a child with you and trying to figure your way out," Megan said.

Normally, you get an email whenever there's a change to a reservation. Megan says they never got one. We want to know why. Southwest has not said.

Flight credits are usually tied to the passengers on the original reservation. We're trying to figure out how they were transferred to book someone else's flight on the East Coast. Megan thinks the person on that ticket may have been scammed, too, in some sort of shell game.

Here's the big takeaway: Never trust the top three to four Google search results. They are usually sponsored; essentially, ads anyone can take out. Scammers take advantage of that, and of you, especially after a disaster. Call the wrong number or click the wrong link, you could end up scammed.

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