After more than a year of dramatically reduced air travel, the summer skies are quite busy as are airports and with busy airports come long, aggravating security check-ins.  Fortunately, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a long standing program called TSA PreCheck which enables you to go through an expedited screening at the airport in special lines without having to remove your shoes, belts or jackets.  According to the TSA, during this past July 96% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes to get through security and as a TSA PreCheck passenger, I can affirm that my experience traveling last month was pretty smooth.

In order to obtain PreCheck status you need to both apply online and then schedule an appointment at one of 380 enrollment centers.  The in-person appointment which includes fingerprinting and a background check is generally completed in ten minutes.

Unfortunately, scammers, of course, have been taking advantage of people trying to sign up for the TSA PreCheck program and are setting up phony websites that appear to be official websites of the TSA.  They then lure you into providing personal information they use to make you a victim of identity theft as well as steal the money they charge you online for a phony TSA PreCheck enrollment.

TIPS

Part of the problem is that some sophisticated scammers are adept at manipulating the algorithms used by Google Chrome and other search engines so that the phony websites appear high on a search.  Merely because a website appears high on a search does not mean that it is legitimate.  The only legitimate sites where you can apply for the TSA PreCheck program are https://www.tsa.gov/precheck and https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/

Also, it is important to note that when you first apply for the TSA PreCheck program, you cannot pay online.  You can register for the program, but you pay when you have your in-person appointment.  Therefore any site that asks you to pay online for your initial TSA PreCheck status is a scam.  TSA PreCheck status is good for five years, but it can be renewed.  When you renew, you can do the entire process including payment online.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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