Arizonans targeted with fake texts posing as major airlines
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — It looks like the scammers are at it again. Whenever there is something big that’s going on and affecting all of us, the scammers lunge at the opportunity to rip you off. Here’s the latest example. Airlines are scrambling to keep up with demand. So, what better way to scam you than to pose as an airline?
If you’ve flown somewhere recently, you know just how crowded our airports have become. There’s a shortage of pilots but demand is stronger than ever. And that’s leading to countless flight cancelations around the nation. It’s the perfect scenario for scammers. “They know exactly what we’re thinking about and if you’ve following the news lately you know all about the challenges the airlines have been having nationally and globally and scammers are looking to take advantage of that,” Giulia Porter told On Your Side. She’s vice president of RoboKiller, which is a spam-blocking app. She says scammers posing as American Airlines, for example, went from 342,278 in June of last year to 776,985 last month. Here’s one of the scam calls that was captured. “Thanks for being a member of American Airlines One World. You’ve been selected to receive a $500 travel voucher. To be transferred to a travel specialist, press 0 now.”
If you press zero, you’re transferred to the scammer who will eventually try to dupe you out of money or your personal information. And the scam calls are very convincing. “One of my friend’s mom fell for a Jet Blue scam recently where the scammer said that she needed a certain amount of money to change her flight. She had booked a flight on Jet Blue and wound up losing hundreds of dollars to a scammer,” Porter said.
And it’s not just phone calls. Scammers are sending out text messages looking like they’re coming from one of the major airlines. Here’s an example. “It’s almost time for your flight to Liberia on June 30 at 7:15 a.m. If you haven’t completed all entry requirements, save time at the airport during check-in. Please plan to arrive at the airport at least three hours before your scheduled departure. We look forward to having you on board soon.”
Even if you don’t have a flight booked to Liberia, the text implies you might be a victim of identity theft, causing you to reply to the link. “Consumers are getting texts that look really legitimate. They are coming in as airline notifications that your flight has been canceled or your account has been compromised if you’re a mileage member,” Porter said. If you get a text or phone call that looks like it’s from an airline, do not reply. If you actually have a flight booked, call the airline yourself to verify.
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