Doug Bedell — May 12, 2018, 10:28 am

‘Tickets Please’: Flying in the Fraud-Smudged Skies


Experiencing the security of good business practice is getting harder to count on.

You don’t have to read far to find that fraud in various forms, but often digital, is closing in, as in the instance of travel fraud, via airline tickets. Bruce Schneider directs us to an article on that subject.

“Every day,” writes Alice Hutchings in a collection entitled Crime, Law and Social Change, “hundreds of people fly on airline tickets that have been obtained fraudulently. This crime script analysis provides an overview of the trade in these tickets, drawing on interviews with industry and law enforcement, and an analysis of an online blackmarket. Tickets are purchased by complicit travelers or resellers from the online blackmarket. Victim travelers obtain tickets from fake travel agencies or malicious insiders. Compromised credit cards used to be the main method to purchase tickets illegitimately. However, as fraud detection systems improved, offenders displaced to other methods, including compromised loyalty point accounts, phishing, and compromised business accounts.”

But then, take heart, for the first comment on Schneider’s post, reads: “Few hundreds fraudulent tickets daily is a shockingly low rate of fraud considering US airports handle 2.5 million passengers daily and the world in total might be up to 8-11 millions.”

Yet vigilance is still in vogue.

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