'Travel Agent' Accused of Scamming Multiple California Residents


handcuffs on money

More than a dozen travelers in Central California have accused a Honolulu-based travel agent of scamming them out of tens of thousands of dollars collectively.

According to KTVU, police in Santa Clara County are investigating Wendy Wong and her company, House of Aloha Hawaii, after receiving reports from at least 13 alleged victims in Milpitas outside of San Jose.

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Cassandra Bernal claims she was supposed to travel to Hawaii this month to celebrate her friends’ 25th anniversary but is instead out $10,608. “I’m still in shock,” she told KTVU. “I’m numb and I don’t know how to feel how can anyone do this?”

Bernal is just one of several people the news station spoke to who say they’re out thousands of dollars after trusting their plans to Wong.

The case has been turned over to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and Wong told KTVU that her attorney has advised her not to comment. Authorities said Wong could face jail time as potential criminal charges include theft under false pretenses and failure to provide travel services as promised.

The victims the news station spoke to all said they have not gotten their money back and are currently disputing the charges with their credit card companies and the popular mobile payment service Venmo.

The latest cautionary tale comes just months after a Jacksonville, Florida woman claimed she and her five friends were scammed out of about $1,800 by a fake travel agency through the mobile payment service Cash App.

Travelers should always be wary of agents who request payment through services like Venmo and Cash App and should instead work only with licensed advisors. TravelSense.org can connect you with a trusted agent in no time.