SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - It happens to all of us. You're in a moment of distress or hurry to make travel arrangements, and turn to google for a phone number that can help. One couple is sharing their expensive mistake doing exactly that in hopes of helping you.

Margaret Frogner and her husband were enjoying a trip to Hawaii over the summer when there was a family emergency. They were frantic trying to cut their trip short.

"I was in a hurry and needed to make a (flight) change," she said.

They got one alright, but not from who they intended to call.

"(The third-party rep just answered like) 'how can I help you," she said. "No, he didn't say who he was."

Margaret said she had no reason to doubt that the first number that popped up on her google search when she typed in the airline, was in fact their priority line. She said the conversation was so routine.

"I said, we have these tickets .... we want to come back early, can you help me," she said. "He asked for our confirmation number, I gave him that. He had it in an instant."

And almost as quickly she says, he was asking for her to grab her wallet.

"He made a new reservation, then said 'I see you made you original reservation with miles, you have to pay a fee now,'" she said. "He had my credit card, and (emailed) me a DocuSign to authorize."

The couple thought nothing of it, until their daughter reminded them, their airline wouldn't charge a change fee.

"First thing I did was call (my bank,)" she said. "I told them, there's going to be a charge (of more than $500,) and I want to put it in dispute right now."

We tried for ourselves to see how easy it could be to dial a company you have no intention of connecting with. We googled 'Alaska Airlines Priority Number," and on our particular search, the number truly associated with the airline and their website was our fifth result down. That's why travel experts remind it's so crucial to focus on more than just the bold number. Pay close attention to the website associated with the number appearing in the search.

Weary about any more phone calls, the couple's next step was to initiate a chat with a legit airline rep. The correspondence shows this is clearly an issue airline companies have seen pop up before. The rep quickly asked the couple if they found the third-party number via a 'google search' and simply called the first number that showed up. It is exactly what had occurred.

The airline ultimately made them an entirely new reservation to ensure it couldn't be tampered with by the third party again. When they tried to call that third party's phone number, they say it had been disconnected.

"I want these people to be stopped," the couple said. "People need to know they are doing this."

The airline also encouraged the couple to file a report with the FTC. They did. And also sought help from the Better Business Bureau. After reading similar stories both there and on social media, there realized how often this is happening.

"The BBB, they say there have been 8,000 people who have complained," she said. "A lot of people say the same thing. They thought they were calling (their airline) and it was a (third party.)"

The couple is hopeful, after three disputes with the credit card company, that the charge will be reversed. But more than that, they want to warn you.

"These people are out there just waiting," she said. "If we have to pay the bill okay, but they could get 10 more people today."

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