Luggage Scam

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sfo1, Aug 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    Years ago, prior to leaving the baggage claim area, there was a person who checked your luggage receipt against the luggage tag and they took your receipt and then you would leave the baggage claim area. Today, there really is no such thing. So, what is to stop someone from taking their luggage, putting it in their car or somewhere else and then filing a claim with the airline for lost luggage. I am wondering if this is ever done, and is it done by many. Some might think this is the way to get back a the airlines for the baggage fees airlines they now charge. Your thoughts?
     
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  2. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Completely agree. luggage theft is way tooooo easy. Especially at smaller airports where luggage gets left by bag claim unattended if someone missed a flight or had luggage come in on another flight. Not to mention the thousands of jobs it would create. Hell, they have to check my cart at costco, they could certainly check my luggage leaving the baggage claim!
     
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  3. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    The only place I ever remembered bags being checked was JFK. I always assumed it had more to do with shady people who the bag did not belong to coming in and stealing the bags rather than the airline worrying about someone filing a false claim.

    I think there are two major factors that contribute to the lax security at baggage claims re the OPs concern. 1) The liability of the common carrier is limited. If someone really wanted to do this plan and hide their bag and collect the full claim they can only get away with so much $$. Even if you claimed you were transporting gold bricks the airline is not going to care as they can just pay out the pretty low maximums and be done. 2) Technology has gotten a lot better. The bag tag is scanned when the bag goes on the carousel. The airline will know the bag arrived. Cameras are everywhere in airports. If the bag goes missing between the time it is places on the carousel to the time it gets lost someone can look to see if it is spotted.

    My guess is one could get away with this plan once, maybe twice before something gets triggered and suspicions are raised. Not to mention the fact that the perpetrator would be committing fraud.
     
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  4. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    I have often wondered the same thing. I don't remember where I read about it but I'm pretty sure that someone was actually arrested for going to the airport and stealing luggage repeatedly.

    Not sure how much sense it makes to steal someone else's bag because:
    a) it takes so long for bags to get through to baggage claim, there is almost always a large crowd already waiting
    b) most people don't check in highly valuable items in their checked bags so you're usually getting dirty laundry

    As far as false claims go, I believe that there is probably a greater reward to passengers to do this since airline's cover a fair amount for a lost bag (for someone who really hasn't lost a bag). You might even say that the airlines understand factored in the a reduction in this type of fraud when originally implementing checked baggage fees which would have reduced the total number of bags being handled.

    At the same time, I believe that the penalty for doing this is relatively high since this is probably insurance fraud. In addition, they have a record of your real identity when you file each claim so it's unlikely that you will be submitting numerous claims anyways.... unless you are somehow flying under a false identity.
     
  5. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    I think that if a person did try and claim on a bag they did not receive, but of course really did, they could only do this once, eventually the Insurance Companies share information and the name would probably pop up. It surprises me that the airlines don't have an agent at the baggage claim that ensures that all luggage tags are turned in to the as proof that luggage was picked up, just like it was in the "old days". The only thing I am thinking is that for some people this would be away to get back at the airlines for the checked bag charge. I am sure this has been done in the past and probably will continue to be done by some.
     
  6. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    The bag thefts were a small ring at PHX.

    Link. http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-11-04-phoenix-luggage-theft_N.htm

    So it can be profitable in sort of a Yard Sale Way. But to claim that your bag was missing with all the hoops the airlines make you go thru, it would not be profitable for a passenger to try and game the system.
     
  7. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    I smell another fee. A luggage security tax. Charge each person $20 per ticket, while paying some security person min wage and pocketing the diff. (after they give the airport their cut.)
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    How did that work "in the old days"? The only US airport where I ever had to present a luggage tag was OAK where, I think, they had security guards at the exit). Looking at, say, the SFO baggage claim area in Terminal 3, it would seem utterly impractical to put security guards at all exits, escalators and elevators that you can use to leave the baggage claim area.

    Maybe I am too optimistic, but I think most people wouldn't want to become outright criminals to "get back" at the airlines for checked bag fees.
     
  9. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I remember needing to show bag claim tags to exit at various times at JFK, LGA, DTW, ORD, LAX, SFO, and BOS, among others.
     
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  10. BurBunny
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    BurBunny Silver Member

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    I remember when it was the exception not to be asked for luggage tag matches. Most airports had "fences" around luggage claim, and to exit the fenced-in area with your luggage, one would have to produce the tags and have them matched by security. You didn't have to secure the doors, only the area around luggage claim. Usually pretty quick and easy.
     
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  11. paladin87
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    They still do this in Xian, China apparently, as they had a line there where everyone had to show their tags.
     

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