Fraud is rapidly increasing in the travel industry. The best way to defeat the fraudsters is through raising awareness and taking preventive measures.
Email is a very popular technique for sending fraudulent messages. It is inexpensive and can target a huge number of potential fraud victims in a short time.
Once a successful contact is made, the fraudster will try to lure the customer into making a payment to a fictitious bank. A common tactic in this effort is to threaten the victim with potential sanctions if the communication is ignored.
Here are some typical warning signs of a fraudulent communication:
- Language in the email is threatening (suspension from IATA systems, fines and penalties, etc.), so to as to intimidate the victim into making an immediate payment
- The communication contains suspicious links or requests to download external files
- The communication includes a change in the banking instructions/account for payments. Typical reasons include that a new bank account has been opened, or for auditing reasons, or other vague explanations)
- Requests to check for latest invoices and forward documentation.
If you encounter any of the above signs, or if something just does not feel right about the communication, please do not hesitate to contact us for validation. Most of the time the fraudulent emails are sent via domain names that are similar to IATA ones. For example “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org”. These fraudulent domain names rely on customers mistaking them for genuine IATA domains.
In rare occasions, it happens that the customer unconsciously sends an email or adds a fraudulent email address as CC to a thread. Please double-check to make sure you are inserting a trusted and safe email address to your electronic messages!
Special techniques like “spoofing” may be utilized to mask the true sender of an email, giving the impression the communication is coming from a legitimate email address like email@example.com, while in reality your reply will be redirected to another email address. If the email address changes when you click the reply button, this is a warning sign of potential fraud!
IATA strongly recommends utilizing an email authentication protocol called “DMARC” (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance), which was implemented in IATA’s email systems in 2017. Any email that is compliant with DMARC will be blocked. This technology will help you in preventing spam, spoofing and phishing.