- How the TSA PreCheck Renewal Scam Works
- Warning Signs of the TSA PreCheck Scam
- What to Do If You Fall For This Scam
- Process for TSA PreCheck Memberships
- Frequently Asked Questions
Scammers are taking advantage of the holiday season, targeting those with TSA PreCheck renewal. Although the emails and websites seem very legitimate and professional, according to several news sources, it's a total scam. You are paying double the price for an unnecessary service, that may not even result in your membership being renewed.
How the TSA PreCheck Renewal Scam Works
This scam is pretty simple—there’s really not that much to it. Everything happens online, from receiving the initial email, to entering your personal details and payment information. What the scammers hope is that you'll think:
- The email is coming from the TSA
- The website is the legitimate TSA website
- Their application services are worth the cost
They're banking on you not realizing that renewing your TSA PreCheck membership is simple and half the price of what they're asking of you.
You Receive An Email About Your TSA PreCheck Renewal
The TSA PreCheck scam starts with you receiving an email reminding you to renew your PreCheck membership. It may look legit, but there will be signs of the scam to look out for, such as:
- The sender’s email not from an official TSA address
- Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
- Formatting issues within the email (e.g., different fonts and sizing)
- External links not going to an official TSA website
- Non-TSA branding (these emails can come from third-party companies who charge you a fee to submit your renewal application)
Example TSA PreCheck Renewal Scam Email
Your TSA PreCheck membership expires soon - you can now apply for your renewal up to 6 months in advance - the additional time left to run will be credited to your new membership.
If you have already applied for your renewal - please ignore this email.
1. If you wish to renew your membership please follow the steps below to submit your renewal application: https://airportprescreening.com/application/
2. Click the blue payment button marked "Proceed to Payment" and pay the IVT Service Fee which covers the application review, checks and processing fee.
If all of your information is the same as when you applied 5 years ago you will not have to attend an interview. IVT will inform you of the next steps once your application has been submitted for background and security checks.
IVT Applications Manager
Don’t Click the Link & Don’t Enter Your Information
If you click the link to sign up for TSA PreCheck you’ll be taken to a website that asks for your personal information, as well as payment for membership. While the site itself isn't pretending to be the actual TSA website, it's still a scam.
These websites, although they have disclaimers saying they aren't affiliated with the TSA, are still fraudulent in nature. They take you through almost the exact same questionnaire as the TSA website takes you through to renew your PreCheck membership but will charge you double the price. What's more, you're not even guaranteed that your membership will be renewed.
The scam site:
- Doesn't save you any time—since you still have to enter all of your information
- Charges you twice as much
- Doesn't guarantee a successful renewal
Only renew and apply for TSA PreCheck from the official websites:
- Information on TSA PreCheck: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck
- To apply for TSA PreCheck: https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/workflows?servicecode=11115V&service=pre-enroll
- To renew your TSA PreCheck membership: https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/workflows?servicecode=1111KF&service=renewal
You Pay Double The Price & Your Membership Isn't Renewed
After entering your information and payment into the scam website, you're not guaranteed that your PreCheck membership will be renewed. You've paid double the price for something you could have done yourself within minutes and in the end, you might need to pay more fees if your renewal wasn't approved.
Warning Signs of the TSA PreCheck Scam
It can be easy to fall for this scam if you don’t know what to look for since these scammers have taken the time to make their emails and websites look professional and genuine. Although these scam sites and emails are extremely detailed, there are still easy ways to spot a fake.
Signs of TSA PreCheck Renewal Scam Emails
These particular scammers have put in a lot of effort, creating emails that look extremely legit and are missing some of the typical signs of phishing scams, however, there are still tell-tale signs.
If you receive an email about your TSA PreCheck, you know it's not from the TSA if:
- The sender's email isn't an official TSA address: Even if the email sender’s name includes TSA, that doesn’t mean it’s actually the TSA. The sender’s name can be manipulated, but the email address can not.
- Email reminders will come from [email protected]
- There are design issues or inconsistencies with fonts.
- There are spelling mistakes and grammatical errors: Scam emails typically have typos and errors in the copy.
- URLs in the email don’t go to a government website: Hover over any links within the email to check where it takes you to. If the domain doesn’t end in “.gov” then it’s not an official government website and you should not click it.
Signs of Scam TSA Websites
If you do click on the link to sign up for TSA PreCheck membership, look out for these red flags of a scam before you enter any information:
- A non-official URL: The official website to sign up for TSA PreCheck is https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/workflows?servicecode=11115V&service=pre-enroll. If you’re taken to a different website, it’s not genuine.
- A request for payment via PayPal or other unconventional methods: TSA PreCheck renewal cannot be paid using PayPal.
Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors: Fake websites typically have typos and errors in the copy.
- Fees costing more than the official renewal fee of $70 (as of November 17, 2021).
Scammers Charge You Double the Price
TSA PreCheck renewal costs $70. These scam websites are known to charge double that amount. AirportPreScreening.com charges $139.99 to renew your PreCheck membership with no guarantees that your membership is actually renewed.
Although the website looks extremely professional and lacks the usual errors you’d normally find in a scam website, don’t be fooled. While these scammers may be more advanced, you can still beat this scam by knowing what the genuine TSA website looks like.
What to Do If You Fall For This Scam
If you fall for the scam and enter your information and payment details into a fake TSA website, you need to act quickly to protect your information and money. Follow these steps:
- Cancel or dispute the payment with PayPal or your credit card provider (depending on how you paid).
- Ensure you have two-factor authentication enabled on your PayPal account (if you paid using PayPal).
- Closely monitor your credit report and accounts for suspicious activity.
- Report the scam to the authorities.
- Email the website and ask for a refund.
- Report the scam to the authorities and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
This TSA PreCheck renewal scam is aimed at stealing your money and not your identity, but identity theft can still happen, so it’s important to remain vigilant and monitor your accounts regularly.
If you used a third-party application service, like AirportPrescreening.com, it may be more difficult to get your money back, since the site has done its due diligence putting disclaimers up so you can't claim they are impersonating the TSA. It's technically a legitimate site, just with sketchy practices.
If you use their service but are unhappy with the results, you can:
- Ask them for a refund.
- Dispute the payment with your credit card company.
- Report them to the BBB.
Process for TSA PreCheck Memberships
The process for renewing your TSA PreCheck membership is different from applying for a new membership. Understand the process so you can identify when you’re being scammed.
TSA PreCheck Renewal
If you want to renew your TSA PreCheck membership, visit the official TSA website and fill in the information required. You’ll be able to enter your payment information at the end of the questionnaire.
Applying for New TSA PreCheck Membership
When you’re signing up for TSA PreCheck, you’ll be taken to the following website:
You’ll then be taken through a multi-page questionnaire, requiring you to enter your:
- Full name
- Eligibility information
- Documents required to enroll
The final step in the online form requires you to search for an enrollment center and schedule an appointment. This is where your government identification will be checked/confirmed and your fingerprints will be recorded.
You do not pay for TSA PreCheck Membership online. Payment is only submitted in person after showing your ID and recording your fingerprints.
Any “TSA” website that asks you to pay for your membership online is a scam!