Online scammers are on the prowl for airline customers

6 June, 2017

The threat of online scammers using airline names is growing more and more every day. It seems we are constantly faced with attempts at accessing our credit card details, bank details and personal information. By the misuse of fake Facebook competitions, to fake emails and telephone calls, an airline is the perfect opportunity to mislead consumers into clicking something they shouldn't. Almost everyone would jump at the opportunity for a free flight, and the scammers are well aware of this.

Social media has opened up a new and easy way for scammers to steal our hard-earned money. Symantec released their annual Internet Security Threat Report in Apr-2017 regarding Cyber Attacks, highlighting that:

  • Malicious emails were the weapon of choice for a wide range of cyberattacks in 2016. One in 131 emails sent was malicious - the highest rate in 5 years.
  • Spear-phishing emails, such as spoofed emails instructing targets to reset their Gmail password, were used in the US election attacks.
  • Ransomware continues to plague businesses and consumers, with the average ransom rising to USD1077, up from USD294 in 2015.
  • IoT and cloud are the new target: on average one attack every two minutes.
  • While the number of data breaches in 2016 remained steady compared to 2015, the number of identities stolen increased significantly. Almost USD1.1 billion identities were stolen in 2016; a big jump from the USD563.8 million stolen in 2015.
  • Australia was 4th for the number of data breaches in 2016, though did not make the top 10 for number of identities stolen.

Jetstar recently launched a campaign to assist consumers to fight back, highlighting simple things to watch out for and steps to follow.

One of the best pieces of advice we can provide is to ensure that you keep an eye on the airlines certified social media channels. The airlines have become quite savvy themselves when it comes to scammers and are well aware of what is going on online, especially when their name is being used. Airlines will often post their own notices advising of misleading competitions, emails or calls. Below are a few examples of what to look out for: