Scammers seek info with fake airline surveys

Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.

Traveling this summer? New phishing emails look like airline alerts.

Scammers know that summer is high travel season and they are capitalizing on it with phishing emails that look like airline notifications. Whether you are flying this summer or not, look out for these phony surveys and flight change alerts that appear to come from major airlines.

HOW THE SCAM WORKS You receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from an airline. BBB has seen scammers use the names of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines … but any company can be impostered. The email may be asking you to take a survey about your recent flight, alerting you to a flight change or asking you to download your recent ticket purchase.

The email looks so real! It uses the company logo and has a professional design and well-written copy. Some scam emails even contain convincing details like the line: “If you are experiencing difficulty viewing this message, click here.” Of course, this is really just another scam link.

No matter the exact message, the scam email instructs you to click a link to learn more. As curious as you may be, don’t fall for it. Scammers hide malware in these email links or attachments. When you click, they can gain access to your computer and steal your sensitive personal information.

A variation on this scheme is a fake website that looks like an airline’s reservation center. If your flight is cancelled and you are standing in an airport frantically searching on your phone, you can easily be fooled by these scam sites. It is best to speak with a desk agent at the airport or check your ticket or app for the airline’s real contact information.

AVOID FALLING FOR EMAIL PHISHING SCAMS:

• Never click on links or download attachments from unknown emails. Out-of-the-blue emails are often attempts to install malware on your computer and/or steal your personal information.

• Don’t take unsolicited emails at face value. Scammers often send out mass emails that contain little or no personal information. If the email doesn’t mention you by name or include any personal information, be wary.

• Hover on links to see their destination. Before clicking, place your mouse over links to discover the actual endpoint.

• Go to the source. Whenever possible, use the customer service information that was provided to you when you made your purchase, rather than searching online.

NOTE Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines Company are BBB Accredited Businesses.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Learn more about phishing scams at BBB.org/PhishingScam. If you’ve gotten a phony airline email (whether you lost money or not), help others avoid the same pitfall by filing a scam report at BBB.org/ScamTracker.

SOURCE Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia