Europol is working to avoid victims of flight ticket fraud

Between the 18th and  22nd June 2018, 61 countries, 69 airlines, 226 airports and 6 online travel agencies participated in the 11th edition of the Global accessibility awareness day(GAAD), focusing on criminals suspected of travelling with plane tickets purchased using stolen, copied or false credit cards. 334 suspicious transactions were informed of and several investigations started. 141 people were arrested.

The Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the airline industry loses over a thousand million dollars annually as a result of fraudulent online plane ticket purchases. Moreover, millions of innocent people are affected by the improper use of their credit card data.

Online fraudulent transactions are not only highly lucrative for organised crime, they are also often used to facilitate more serious criminal activities, like illegal immigration, people trafficking, drug smuggling and terrorism.

Eurojust collaborated throughout the week of action, along with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), which deployed officials in 22 airports. The airport communication project (AIRCOP), implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC), in collaboration with Interpol and the World Customs Association (WCA), also developed activities to apply the law in airports in Africa and the Middle East.

How to avoid airline fraud

Here is some advice from the Europol to avoid becoming the next victim of a too-good-to-be-true holiday package.

  • Purchase from official sources

Reserve your holidays directly with an airline or hotel, or via a reputed agent or tour operator. Look for the IATA logo on the company’s website.

  • Do your own search

Do a complete online search to guarantee that the company is legitimate. If it is suspicious, other people may have published their experiences to warn others.

  • Surf safely online

Pay special attention to the name and domain of the website. Small changes in the name or the domain, like a change from .com to .eu, may redirect you to a completely different company.

  • Pay safely

Make sure that the website uses a secure payment system and that the payment protocol is also secure (https) in order to make the payment.

  • Check the small print

Check that the webpage includes terms and conditions, a refund policy and a privacy policy.

  • Use your instinct

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Keep all proof and inform the police immediately.

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