Seat Selection Charge Scam: How It Works
With the Coronavirus making a mess also in the airline industry, the Seat Selection Charge Scam is making its rounds this month. It targets people who just bought plane tickets or need to change them due to the plethora of cancellations happening during this COVID-19 outbreak. If you are one of those people who has purchased tickets and thinking about getting a refund or just changing the itinerary, read carefully.
The scam is not new, but it just resurfaced due to the perfect timing. How does the scam work?
Watch the video below to see the Seat Selection Charge scam exposed:
The scam emails claim to be a "seat selection fee receipt." The recipients are informed that they have been charged a high fee (usually in the hundreds of dollars) for choosing their seat on the flight. Knowing they didn't select a seat or even think about choosing one – especially when everyone is dealing with refunds or cancellations – victims pay more attention to the message.
The email contains an attachment labelled "<name of the airline> Confirmation" which the customer is urged to click. The attachment has a highly unusual pdf.zip file extension which is an indicator that it is a fake. Once this file is opened, you have effectively introduced malware to your device. One of this could be a keylogger, which records your keystrokes and leads to identity theft.
Other indicators that the email is fraudulent are its lack of personalization. The customer's name never appears in the email, nor does it contain any of the customers booking information or itinerary.
Here is a screenshot of an email scam:
Qantas was the first airline that has been hit by this scam, many travellers receiving the "Qantas Airways Confirmation" e-mail. The company is not the only one, though. Recently, United Airlines, Jetstar, Delta, Air Canada and American Airlines have been targeted in the past as well.
Seat Selection Charge: How To Avoid
According to a Qantas announcement sent to its customers via Twitter and Facebook, these emails were not generated by the company and the link should not be clicked. Further, any communications to actual customers will contain personal details regarding the flight information of the customer. Qantas says the best way to check flight details is by visiting their website at Qantas.com.au and click on the "manage your booking" link.
If you want to contact the company directly, it is worth taking the time to wait for the live chat or phone call.
Seat Selection Charge: How To Report
Make your family and friends aware of the Seat Selection Charge Scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
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