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Email Scammers Targeting Air Travelers


Delta, Midwest, Sun Country, Hawaiian, and Northwest have all warned customers that email scammers are using phony ticket invoices to infect computers with viruses. The emails arrive looking like fare invoices, claiming a ticket has been purchased and referencing a credit card charge. These fake invoices contain an attached "receipt" that unleashes a Trojan horse virus which steals information from the computer and transmits it to a server in Russia. For now, the virus seems to only affect Windows machines, but all computer users should be on the lookout.

Here are a few tips for spotting these bogus emails:

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  • If you haven't purchased a ticket recently, the email is probably phony. This seems obvious, but apparently emails are being sent to people who haven't even purchased tickets.
  • Northwest says, "NWA itineraries are specific and contain information that [sic] customer will recognize," so if the email doesn't contain familiar information (such as flight numbers, itinerary dates, etc), delete it immediately.
  • According to Northwest, the email contains bad grammar and spelling errors, so consider those a big red flag. This is similar to a scam that hit American Airlines' frequent flyer program in June.

Most importantly, do not open the attachment. Neither Delta nor Northwest says if their real ticket invoices contain attachments, but it's best to play it safe. If you have purchased a ticket and receive a suspicious email, call the airline directly before you do anything. Whether or not you purchased a ticket, check with your credit card company to make sure you haven't been erroneously charged.

We'll keep an eye on this situation as it develops, and let you know if and when the scam is stopped.

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