Cruise Passenger Says She Was Scammed Out of $15,000 Trip After Accidentally Posting Booking Number on Facebook

In a series of TikTok videos, Tiffany Banks recounted the day her family was set to embark, only to find out their reservation had been canceled



A would-be cruise passenger has drawn major attention online after recounting her harrowing experience of falling victim to what she believes was a vacation scammer.

In a series of TikTok videos, Tiffany Banks shared the events of the day her family was set to embark on a Carnival Cruise Line voyage. Early that morning, she received an email from the company, confirming the cancellation of their reservation.

Banks, who had reserved the ship's Excel Presidential Suite a year in advance—the largest accommodation available—immediately reached out to the company for what she assumed was a message sent in error. Despite initial unanswered calls, she eventually spoke with a representative who initially informed her that their reservation had been automatically voided by the system.

However, she says a subsequent revelation from a manager found that an unauthorized individual had accessed the online system and canceled their booking.

"We talked for over two-and-a-half hours, and the only solution they were willing to offer was two interior rooms," Banks emphasized in one of her videos. An interior room is typically the cheapest and least desirable on a cruise ship.

"I just can't even fathom, how do they think that's right? Two interior rooms for an Excel Presidential Suite which we have nearly $15,000 tied up in for this vacation including excursions," she vented, underscoring the substantial financial investment.

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Despite the company's offer, Banks staunchly refused the alternative, arguing that it fell short of their original booking standards. Additionally, she expressed frustration over the company's refusal to issue a refund due to their policy of not issuing refunds for cancellations made within 15 days of the cruise date.

"I don't even know, like are you kidding me," Banks exclaims in one of her posts. "I'm like, we're in a bad episode of Punk'd right now, like this can't be... this doesn't happen."

Despite the cancelled trip and her refusal of the cruise line's alternative offer, Banks and her family traveled to Miami anyway, where they were denied boarding at the dock and left to watch the ship sail away without them.

<p>Getty Images</p> Stock image of cruise ship.

Getty Images

Stock image of cruise ship.

Then, several days later, Banks received a call from Carnival with an explanation: their reservation had been accessed by a bad actor.

In another TikTok video, Banks reveals that after further communication with the cruise line, she believes she and her husband were victims of identity fraud.

A few weeks before their cruise, the couple had accidentally shared their booking reference number in a photo on Facebook. Consequently, she alleges someone used that information to access their booking online and cancel it 48 hours before their departure.

The company disclosed that the IP address of the perpetrator was from British Columbia, but beyond that, no further details could be ascertained, she says.

<p>Hinterhaus Productions/Getty</p>

Hinterhaus Productions/Getty

"Unfortunately, this guest failed to heed well-documented and very common travel safety and security advice," a Carnival spokesperson told PEOPLE.

"It is never a good idea to post personal information about your travel plans, including a confirmation number for a booking, which could allow a bad actor or identity thief to use that information in inappropriate or even illegal ways," they added.

They continued, "With a busy summer travel season underway, we are reminding our guests about several things to make their travel go smoothly."

The same advice is true for other travel documents including passports or plane boarding passes.

Carnival offered Banks $10,404 in future cruise credit, contingent, she claims, upon her public acknowledgment that the issue had been resolved. However, Banks and her family have decided they are not interested in sailing "ever again."

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