Airline passengers are a growing scam target

Photo (c) Tang Ming Tung - Getty Images

Be skeptical of ‘too good to be true’ offers

Security experts have documented a significant rise in travel scams during the spring and summer as more people decided to get out of the house. And it seems some travel scammers are specializing, targeting airline passengers.

For example, a random phishing email claims that you are getting a $500 travel credit from Delta Airlines that you can apply to a future trip. A great deal, right?

But to claim your voucher, which doesn’t exist, you have to click on a link in the email. Doing so might download malware onto your device. If the link takes you to an actual website, you’ll be required to provide lots of sensitive personal information.

Scammers are also posing as United Airlines. As with the Delta scam, the email recipient is told they are getting two free round-trip tickets. And as with the Delta scam, they are told to start the process of claiming their tickets by clicking on a link.

Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence at Trend Micro, says scammers are taking advantage of the surge in air travel this summer.

“Recently, Trend Micro has seen an increase in scams involving airlines where they offer travel vouchers or round-trip tickets to their victims,” Clay told ConsumerAffairs. “Consumers should beware of unsolicited emails or texts where they are offered these incentives and they should confirm with their airline that anything from them is legitimate.” 

Be skeptical of ‘too good to be true’ offers

Consumers should also be skeptical of things like free airline tickets. That definitely falls in the “too good to be true” red flag category.

As we reported in July, scammers have targeted airline passengers by buying ads on Google searches, pretending to be the help desks at these airlines.

If a United passenger is stranded at O’Hare looking for options and sees one of these ads, then dials the phone number listed, that call is probably headed to scammer and not to the real United service center.

If you recently attempted to call one of the major airlines using a phone number posted on Google, you may want to check your credit card statement to make sure you weren’t a victim of a scam.

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