An Irish traveller has set up his own travel program to convince travelers he is not a scammer, a program that has been gaining traction in the US and has been touted by US officials as a tool to help cut the cost of travel.
Dublin-based Irish Traveller has raised more than $15,000 (€13,500) through crowdfunding to help travellers prove they are not scammed by a program launched last year by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Dubbed The Traveling Investor, the program allows travellers to register with the government to prove their identity and get a free passport, a ticket to a US border, and travel stamps.
Dubai-based Traveller Traveler’s Association, which has helped develop the program, told CNNMoney that the new program is different from others, such as the “traveling broker” and “traveler visa broker”.
“Dublin has a lot of fraud and fraud-prone people.
We want to help them out,” said TWA’s managing director, Conor O’Connor.
Dubs tourism department is trying to curb fraud by using the travel program Traveller to prove travel documents are authentic, O’Connor said.
“We want to give people a tool that they can use that is not the traditional way,” he said.
Dubstep, a website for travellers to prove identity and travel documents, has more than 7 million visitors a month, according to the company’s founder, Matt Kavanagh.
DubStep has been criticized by US authorities for promoting fraud, including the creation of fake passport holders to use in visa applications.
The US Department for Homeland Security has also launched a crackdown on fake travellers.
The department’s new travel and visa bureau will be able to crack down on fraud by issuing travel documents that do not match with real ones, officials said in a statement.
The travel program has also been criticized for being overly aggressive.
Dubsteps website is full of false or misleading information about the program and it is often a waste of time and money, TWA said.TWA said that the program is “not a scam”, and that travellers are encouraged to use it to verify their identity.
Dubliners can sign up for a free 30-day trial and get free stamps for a first and second trip, which is free if the traveller stays in the United States for 30 days.
The travel program does not offer a refund for first trips.
Traveller Travelers Association told CNN that its members use the program “to check the legitimacy of their travel documents.”
The program has been praised by the Department of State, and the US government has praised the Dublin-based group as an important tool to cut the costs of travel, which can often be prohibitively expensive for a small number of travellers.
“The Dublin Traveller Program has proven to be a critical tool in cutting the cost and increasing confidence of US travellers,” Department of Justice spokeswoman Laura Sullivan said in an email.