Travel insights from Jenna Buege, contributing editor of The Compass

IATA Urges Travel Agents to Be Aware of Phishing and Fraud

Spoofing and phishing and spam, oh my! Each year thousands of people fall for traps set by hackers around the world. Technology is a massive part of our daily lives and businesses which is why we’re passionate bringing agents the most up-to-date information when it comes to keeping your agency secure. Here are a few tips from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to help keep you and your agency safe and secure.


Email is one of the most common ways crooks gain access to people’s accounts, passwords and private information. Although phishing and spam attempts can be convincing, there are things you can do to avoid falling into their trap:

  • Don’t click suspicious links
  • Don’t download unknown or suspicious files and attachments
  • Delete emails and text messages that ask for personal information
  • Never give out private information such as your password or Social Security number
  • Block the sender and delete sketchy emails

Here are a few signs that an email may be fraudulent:

  • The sender’s email address is odd – while sounds plausible enough, raises a red flag. Refer back to trusted emails from the company to compare email addresses
  • It’s signed using a fake name – Scammers often imitate trusted officials or organizations
  • It asks you to click a link for further action – Fraudsters try to redirect their victims by having them click a link to reply to an alternate email address or force download a file

P.S., always remember that reputable organizations will never ask you for sensitive information such as your username and password by email, text or phone. If you’re contacted with such a request, treat it as highly suspicious and end the call or disregard/delete the email/text message.

Invoices and Phone calls

In some cases fraudsters may call customers and impersonate an organization’s staff by using a fake caller ID. Unfortunately, these calls are often hard to detect as phone numbers can be easily spoofed with an internet phone. It’s also important to point out that after making contact with their victim scammers will often send out fake invoices, bank notices and letters. 

If you believe you are on the other end of a suspicious phone call it is recommended to end the call and then directly contact the organization using the number listed on their official website. After confirming the organization’s legitimacy, you can check whether the invoice, bank notice or letter is valid. This “reassuring practice” can also be applied to dubious emails and text messages.

Be Vigilant

All organizations are at risk of falling victim to fraud that’s why it’s important to be aware, instill proper controls and procedures and keep employees informed on cyber security.

For more detailed information check out IATA’s official document regarding fraudulent emails.

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