Get All Access for $5/mo

A Hacker Canceled a Family's Cruise After Their Confirmation Number Was Visible on Facebook A social media photo blunder cost one family their dream trip — and thousands of dollars.

By Emily Rella Edited by Melissa Malamut

Key Takeaways

  • A TikToker found out her cruise was canceled the morning they were traveling to the port, but she says it wasn't her.
  • A "bad actor" saw the confirmation number on social media.
  • "Unfortunately, this guest failed to heed well-documented and very common travel safety and security advice," a Carnival spokesperson said.

A tiny error on social media reportedly cost one family $15,000 for a cruise that they never sailed on.

In a series of TikTok videos that have since gone viral, Tiffany Banks told viewers that she received an unexpected email from Carnival Cruises the day her family was traveling to the company's port in Miami, Florida, saying her reservation had been canceled, sending her into a "full-blown panic."

"We've been planning this vacation for a year," Banks told viewers, noting that she had booked the Excel Presidental Suite, which is the largest that the company offers. "We had all kinds of extra perks, we were super excited."

After talking to multiple representatives, Banks found out her cruise had been canceled, despite pleading with reps that was not the case.

@thathippiedoc We will never book with carnival again ... #carnival #celebration #carnivalcelebration ♬ original sound - Tiffany Banks

After telling reps that she did not cancel the cruise, Banks claims that she was offered her two interior rooms as a replacement, but not the suite she had booked, and not a full refund.

"Whenever I asked [Carnival] to trace it because I can guarantee you that I didn't cancel, they said, 'Well, we can't trace it,'" she said.

Related: Carnival Cruise Line Installs Starlink Internet on Every Ship

Banks said that she and her family, children included, went to the port anyway but were denied access to the boat after turning down the replacement interior rooms.

In a follow-up video, Banks said that she received a call from Carnival days later, which confirmed that the company believed her reservation had been accessed by a hacker and that she was a victim of identity theft.

It turns out that Banks had posted a photo on Facebook weeks earlier with her confirmation number in view, which led a "bad actor" (traced to Canada) to see it, create a fake profile, add the Banks family's booking to their online account, and cancel the original.

"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."

@thathippiedoc Well they still aren't willing to make this right .. they apologized and then spit in my face with another bogus offer.. i want an apology from them trying to make it look like i was lying or hiding something or even worse - that there were security issues.. i will keep yall posted I promise .. #cruisetokc #carnivalcelebration #truth @carnival ♬ original sound - Tiffany Banks

"Had [Carnival] listened to me whenever I said I didn't cancel and done a quick and swift investigation, we could have had this squashed," she said.

Related: Why You Might Be Paying More for Your Next Carnival Cruise

Banks claims that Carnival offered her $10,000 for a future cruise credit if she posted on social media that there was a positive resolution, but she refused.

Carnival did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur's request for comment.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

Taylor Swift Paused Her Show Over the Weekend Due to Safety Concerns. What She Said Next Is a Powerful Lesson in Leadership.

A show of concern for fans and an appreciation for the staffers who helped marked an emotional final "The Eras Tour" show in Germany this weekend.

Business News

What Is the Coconut Tree Meme That's All Over Social Media?

It has roots in something Kamala Harris said last year.

Real Estate

What You Need to Know About the Future of Real Estate Lending in a High Interest Rate Environment

Let's try to dissect the future of lending in real estate amidst these higher interest rates. Based on my years of experience, I'll debunk common misconceptions, provide valuable insights for stakeholders and navigate through the complexities of the current lending environment.


How to Build the Mental Toughness You Need to Overcome Entrepreneurial Challenges

When a crisis strikes, leaders need to get real about what they see in the mirror.


3 Ways to Create Community in Experience-Driven Retail

Agile tech platforms that work in the background are the key to scaling while maintaining brand quality.