Scam of the day – January 1, 2016 – Chinese hacker steals information from airline

A 19 year old Chinese man was arrested recently and charged with hacking into the website of an unnamed airline and stealing flight booking information of more than a million of the airline’s customers.  Then posing as the airline, he sent text messages to many of the customers whose flight information had been stolen and told them that their flights had been cancelled and lured them into rebooking their flights with him.  He then stole the money used to rebook the non-existent flights totaling about $150,000.

TIPS

It is important to remember as I constantly remind you, that you can’t trust any phone call, email or text message that asks you for personal information such as credit card information.  Any time you do receive such a message, such as the text message in this particular scam, if you think that it might be legitimate, you should not respond to links, phone numbers or email addresses contained in the communications you receive.  Instead you should communicate directly with the real company at an address or phone number that you have independently determined to be accurate in order to determine whether the communication to you was a scam or not.  In this particular case, had the victims contacted the airline directly, they would have found out that the initial text message was a scam.