Couple got stuck in Maui after scammer canceled their flight

A California family claims they got scammed trying to escape the Maui wildfires, costing them $3,400 in airfare.

Megan and Kevin Morgan were celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary on the island with their 8-month-old when they decided to cancel their celebratory dinner and return home to the Sacramento area — shortly before the devastating blaze destroyed the restaurant that held their reservation.

“We’re kind of like, ‘Let’s just make the call.’ With the baby, it’s too much to be over there,” Megan told CBS13 Sacramento on Wednesday.

Megan said she called a Southwest Airlines help number she found via Google to change their flight.

“And then [the person who answered the phone] says, it’s going to be like $200 or something to change,” Megan shared. “And I’m like, ‘No, no, no, there shouldn’t be change fees. This is Southwest.’ And he says, on the phone, ‘I’ve told you four times now, this is how much it costs if you want to change it.’”

A Lincoln couple vacationing in Maui with their baby says they were scammed trying to escape the island. It was time to call Kurtis to investigate.
Megan and Kevin Morgan and their baby were vacationing on Maui when the wildfires broke out.
Courtesy Megan and Kevin Morgan

Megan said she didn’t give a credit card number and hung up immediately — but she had apparently provided enough information to get scammed.

She received a message on her Southwest account saying her reservation for her flight home was canceled, which led her to realize she must’ve called a scammer, not the airline.

The scammer was able to cancel the family’s flight home and use the credits to book a flight for someone else — using just the Morgans’ names and confirmation numbers.

“I’ve never heard of this. I’ve never heard of this scam. I’m pretty aware of certain, you know, different ways people are scamming other people, but I have never heard of this and it’s obviously very sophisticated,” Megan said.

The couple said they were forced to stay on the island an extra two days and pay $3,400 for a Hawaiian Airlines flight home.

The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engulfed in flames along Wainee Street on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii
Megan said she called a Southwest Airlines help number she found via Google to change their flight.
Matthew Thayer/The Maui News via AP

However, the Morgans don’t see themselves as victims.

Not going to dinner at Kimo’s Restaurant on Lahaina’s Front Street — where cars were torched and dozens died — saved their lives, after all.

“You just think of how scary that must have been, and I cannot imagine what that would be like having a child with you and trying to figure your way out,” Megan said.

Typically, a change to a Southwest flight is confirmed via email, but Megan says she didn’t receive one, and flight credits are usually given to the passenger of the original flight.

FILE - Flames burn inside a van as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Currently, the Maui wildfires are the nation's fifth-deadliest on record, according to research by the National Fire Protection Association, a nonprofit that publishes fire codes and standards used in the U.S. and around the world.  The Camp Fire killed 85 people and forced tens of thousands of others to flee their homes as flames destroyed 19,000 buildings in Northern California.
The ongoing disaster in Maui is being called one of the deadliest in the state’s history.
AP Photo/Noah Berger, File

Megan believes the person who got the flight with her credits might have been scammed as well, as part of some sort of shell game.

Southwest said in a statement to CBS13 that the airline is “disheartened to learn that a customer was taken advantage of by someone impersonating one of our employees.”

The statement continued: “Our customer engagement team is in touch with the customer to learn more as well as offer assistance, and we are investigating the matter internally.”

Last week’s Maui catastrophe has already claimed at least 111 lives, with hundreds of people still unaccounted for.

Residents, tourists and pets have been dramatically affected by the blaze, with many in need of urgent assistance and support.

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