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Warning: Airline Booking Scams

Warning: Airline Booking Scams

With summer approaching and with more and more people getting vaccinated, it’s inevitable that the travel industry will get a jump-start.

But beware of airline booking and travel scams.

Cybercriminals are opportunists, and they will jump on any trend, whether it be a specific holiday or the emergence of a new season.

One of our team members recently got an email confirmation for tickets he booked at a major airline… Sounds exciting, right?

Only thing is, he didn’t book the tickets.

4 things to look for when examining potential airline booking scams

While the fact he didn’t book them is reason enough not to click on any links or otherwise interact with this piece of communication, there are other signs the email is fraudulent.

  1. URL
    The URL is a convoluted version of the actual airline’s web address. This is a huge red flag. If you’re unsure if the URL is correct, don’t click within the email. Open your browser and search for the specific airline’s website.
  2. Nonsense
    When unsure about an email, look for any nonsensical things. The email is pretty clean, with no misspelled words or blatant grammatical errors. However, the disclaimer at the bottom doesn’t make any sense. It states the email is a “customer opinion survey” designed to help the company better serve its customer. This is not something that would be seen on an airline booking confirmation email.
  3. Attachment
    When you get an email with an attachment – especially when the email is unsolicited – be extremely cautious. This particular email had a Word document attached, so that is a huge red flag. Official receipts are typically not sent in a Word document file. In fact, Word documents and other Microsoft Office files are a popular vehicle for macro malware.
  4. Branding
    Yes, the fraudsters have done a good job of mimicking the branding. Graphics and logo look genuine. But a quick trip to the company’s website (typed directly in a browser, of course, and not via any clicking with the email!) and you’ll see the website has a new branding style. The one in the email looks like it’s a generation or two behind. Not exactly an easy thing to notice, but an astute eye can assist in this discovery.