79-Year-Old Fla. Woman Misses Husband’s Funeral After Being Scammed by Fake Airline Ticket: Report

“I said, 'Why? Why can’t I go on the flight? I’ve got a ticket.' I thought if you have a ticket, you’re good as gold," the woman recalled

<p>getty</p> Stock photo of a plane taking off


Stock photo of a plane taking off

A 79-year-old woman who had been trying to book a flight to her late husband's funeral was scammed into buying a fake ticket, according to a report.

Florida resident Joanne Stainer told ABC affiliate WFTV that she had planned to fly to Appleton, Wis. from the Orlando Sanford International Airport with her son and grandson on June 1. But a medical emergency kept her from getting on that flight, so she had to book another one.

Stainer told the outlet she opted to call 411 — a number for local directory assistance — in order to get in contact with Allegiant Air and book a flight the night before the funeral on June 3. She said she was connected to someone who claimed to work for the airlines and told her, “I can take care of that for you.”

She recalled that the person told her that the roundtrip flight from Florida to Wisconsin would cost $988 and would be higher because she was flying "last minute." However, according to WFTV, the same flight could be seen costing much less — up to $200 — on the airlines’ official website.

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The person on the phone then gave her a confirmation code for the purchased ticket, along with a boarding pass for her flight, the outlet reported.

According to WFTV, Stainer was able to check in for the flight and get through security before she was stopped from getting onboard at the gate. When this happened, she recalled telling the agent at the time, “I said, 'Why? Why can’t I go on the flight? I’ve got a ticket.' I thought if you have a ticket, you’re good as gold.”

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Per the outlet, an Allegiant staff member informed her that her ticket was fake. “He said, we’ve had a lot of scammers. This is not the first time that this has happened to us,” Stainer recalled. As further proof of the scam, her credit card statement showed what appeared to be $2,000 in fraudulent charges.

Most upsetting for Strainer was that she missed the funeral for her late husband Joe. “I was so intent on I’m going to be there to watch him be put in the ground. I owe him that,” she told WFTV.

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Allegiant Air did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment on the incident.

In a statement to WFTV, Allegiant said that the woman’s “confirmation number was legitimate, which is why she was able to check in her luggage.” But the airline flagged the fraudulent activity in its system after she checked in at the airline counter.

“The ticket was purchased through a third party that has previously been flagged for fraudulent activity. Within a few hours of booking, our system flagged the third-party purchaser,” Allegiant said, per the outlet.

“Ms. Stainer purchased her ticket through the third-party on the day of travel. Had the flight been purchased earlier, she would have been notified before arriving at the airport, and a customer care representative would have been happy to provide her with suggestions on how to proceed,” the airline added, recommending that customers book directly with Allegiant, either through its official website or number in order to avoid being scammed. 

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