Phishing emails and the more personally tailored spear phishing emails all have one thing in common.  These phony emails that appear to come from legitimate companies all try to lure you into trusting them and either providing personal information or clicking on malware infected links.  Summer is a busy time for air travel.  According to the Better Business Bureau, this summer has seen an increase in phishing emails that appear to come from airlines such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.  The phishing emails appear legitimate and carry the logo of the airline that the scammer is purporting to be, however, it is a very simple matter for anyone to copy and paste the logo of any company.  Merely because an email contains a company logo is no reason to trust the email as being from the real company.  In the case of these airline phishing emails, they use a number of different ruses to lure you into either clicking on links or providing information, such as a survey about a recent flight, an alert about a change of time for an upcoming flight or other information about an impending flight.  These phishing emails are sent out to large numbers of people including people who are not doing business with the airline.  Obviously if you have not done business with a particular airline, you can safely ignore the email.  However, you should always be skeptical about providing personal information or clicking on links when you receive any email.

TIPS

The first thing to do if you actually have done or are doing business with the particular airline from which the email appears to be originate is check the email address of the sender.  Many phishing emails are sent as part of a botnet of infected computers and carry the email addresses of the infected computers which will not relate in anyway to the airline.  If the email address is not related to the company, you can feel confident it is a scam.  Even if the email address appears legitimate, however, you should still be skeptical and make sure that the email address matches that of other legitimate emails that you have received from the airline.  Legitimate emails from an airline will also be directed to you by name and specifically indicate your flight number and other specific information about your flight.  Phishing emails will not contain that information.

Also, you should make sure that all of your electronic devices, such as your computer and cell phone are equipped with with security software that has been updated with the latest security updates.  Most importantly, as a rule, you should never click on links, download attachments or provide personal information in response to an email unless you have verified that it is legitimate.

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