Fake Airlines Tickets: How Not to Become a Victim of Scammers
What do you do when you are going to buy air tickets? First, you can go to the office and buy them there in person. Second, you can save time and look at the airline’s website. Third, like so many people, you can go to the page of some aggregator, where you can compare fares and schedules — and maybe save a lot of money.
And you can also type the query “cheap tickets to” into the search engine and see what come up — there is always the hope that there will be a little-known aggregator that allows you to save even more. But, unfortunately, it’s not safe. So today, we will tell you why.
The internet is full of dangers. Read the article and protect your online experience.
The main signs of a fake website
The biggest risk of using a little-known website to buy airline tickets is the chance that the site is fake. Here are the main signs of a fake website:
- Its domain was registered recently: for example, three days ago.
- It doesn’t check passenger data.
- It doesn’t offer to choose a row and a place.
- It sells tickets very cheaply.
- It is not possible to register on the site.
- It doesn’t offer insurance.
Let’s analyze these signs in more detail.
The site was created recently
You can check the age of sites using Whois. The fake site will only work for several days.
They don’t check passenger data
Let’s assume that you have specified the destination and the date of the trip. After that, the website will request information about passengers: first name, last name, gender, date of birth, I.D. details, and email and phone.
To go to the payment page, even on a fake site, you need to fill in all the fields — otherwise, the site gives an error message. This was done for a reason: in this way, scammers imitate the work of a real site so as not to arouse suspicion.
However, you can enter anything: the data is not checked. So, for example, instead of the real year of birth, you can specify a set of digits, e.g. “0004,” and you will still be able to go to the payment site.
Of course, scammers can set up the site to more carefully mimic a real one, so that all the data needs to be entered correctly. But more often, they want to transfer the visitor to the payment page faster to receive the money.
Unlike fake sites, the official ones always send verification codes to confirm the phone and mail. Otherwise, you will not be able to buy a ticket.
The real danger of scammers and hackers is explained here.
It is impossible to choose a seat on the flight
After entering the passenger data, you will not be able to choose a row and a seat: the site will immediately transfer to the payment page. On the official website of any airline, everything will be different. Before paying, the site shows a selection of free places on an interactive map and suggests a price.
Scammers do not pay attention to these details. Instead, they hope that the victim is buying plane tickets online for the first time and will not notice the catch.
The ticket price is too low
A fake website sells tickets very cheaply. Therefore, if you regularly fly on this route, immediately pay attention to the cheapness.
Air ticket prices may vary by 3-5% in different companies. This is normal. But scammers likely created the site if the price is under the norm by 50%. And low prices help them attract as many victims as possible.
It is impossible to register on the site
Airlines have loyalty programs: the more often you fly, the more bonuses you have. To track flights and receive bonuses for them, customers are asked to register on the website.
On a fake website, they let you buy a ticket without registration. It is simply too difficult for scammers to implement such mechanisms, so either there are no personal accounts on fake sites, or the feature does not work for some fictitious technical reasons.
How can you protect your data in apps and services? Read more here.
It doesn’t offer insurance
Some passengers take out insurance in case of cancellation of the trip, flight delays, or loss of luggage. However, unlike real airlines, fake websites do not offer such insurance.
If you go to the websites of other popular airlines, you can find the “Insurance” section on all of them. They indicate the insurance cost and list the conditions when and in what amount you can receive a payment.
Is it possible to get a refund for non-existent tickets?
It is either impossible or very difficult to recoup the money for fake air tickets since the victim transfers the money voluntarily:
- If the payment is made to an individual, it will not be possible to challenge the transaction.
- If the money is transferred to the company’s account, you can use the chargeback or refund procedure. To do this, you need to contact the bank with an application for a fraudster. In the application, specify the amount and date of payment.
According to this scheme, lawyers advise those who transferred money to malicious brokers or other scammers who promised to provide any service for a fee, received money, but did not provide the service.
What are privacy lawyers? Learn more here.
There are twice as many fake websites as real ones selling airline tickets on the internet. But there are five signs by which you can distinguish a fake:
1. There is no consent to processing personal data on the passenger data page, or there is no company name in this consent, only its website.
2. The cost of air tickets is very low. Real aggregators will not sell tickets at extremely low prices — when buying, it is better to pay attention to the fares on the airline’s official website.
3. There is no information about the company and contacts, or the phone numbers and e-mail of official aggregators are indicated instead.
4. There is no contract for the provision of services.
5. There are no additional options: insurance, seat selection, and additional baggage: the fake service, as a rule, after filling out the form with passenger data, immediately redirects to the payment page.
Follow the safety rules and be under protection!