Travelers Beware: Airline-Related E-Mail Scams and Phishing Become More Sophisticated

Recipient beware. This e-mail is not from Delta Air Lines.

By Paul Riegler on 4 April 2017
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If you receive an e-mail that looks like it’s from your favorite airline and hotel chain confirming a reservation but you didn’t actually plan a trip, you are probably the recipient of an e-mail-based phishing campaign.

While Nigerians promising great riches in exchange for help with releasing the funds due the widow of the late Nigerian dictator General Sanni Abacha are still out there, the newest trend is to spoof something familiar with the hope that the recipient opens the attachment. Doing so will install a dangerous virus or cause malware to be downloaded onto a victim’s computer with the goal of either surreptitiously copying user names and passwords or tricking the recipient into typing in these credentials into a fake website.

Phishing, of course, is the transmission of a fraudulent e-mail message designed to resemble one from a legitimate company that the recipient might do business with, such as a bank or travel company.

Unlike an e-mail I recently received purporting to be from JPMorgan Chase and signed by the unlikely Kindness Williams, that read,

We recently detected unusual activities on your CHASE card, for your security, we need you to VERIFY the require information with us. TO REVIEW & VERIFY THE UNUSUAL ACTIVITIES, download the attachment provided by our security team,

the ones targeting airline customers are far more sophisticated.

While such scams are nothing new, the frequency with which they occur is on the upswing. Scammers are opportunistic in nature and constantly seek out new ways to exploit weaknesses both in security measures and human nature.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, warns that criminals will create spoof websites and e-mail messages to gain access to people’s account information and login credentials.

Click here to continue to Page 2The Case of the Free Delta Flights and Gift Cards 

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