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Fake Airline Websites Being Shared on Social Media

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warns of scammers using well known brands to set up fraudulent websites

National Cyber Security Centre warns of fake airline websites this summer holiday

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have issued a warning after scammers have been found to be using the brands of major global airlines to lure users to fake websites. Users are then being encouraged to share the links to the site with friends, in a bid to increase traffic to their fake sites, and gain more money from potential victims.

When a user clicks through to the sites they are prompted to answer a few simple questions and provide personal information to get free flights. Once they give away their name, email, phone, date of birth and address they are then told they will receive the flights, BUT only once they ‘like’ and share the page on Facebook, spreading the fake sites to new victims.

95 Fake Websites Found So Far

According to threat researchers, cyber criminals were observed registering 95 fake websites in late March using the brands of 19 major airlines, including ones based in the UK.  

The personal details provided by the victims are used for fraudulent marketing purposes, namely to drive traffic to websites that provide online promotions and monetisation of web and mobile applications. Fraudsters often promote an effective freebie strategy (gifts, prize draws etc.) to attract public attention to the sites. 

In the run up to the summer holidays, this cyber-enabled fraud may lead to lost custom and reputational damage for the airlines. The use of social media to distribute fake websites is likely to continue to increase. It is not limited to airlines and could affect any well-known brand.  

There also remains a risk that malicious actors could modify the scheme and use such sites to distribute malware to victims, on a large scale.

Top Tips

  • Only use trusted websites to book a holiday online.
  • Look for https and the padlock when entering personal details on an online form.
  • Check if a company is ABTA and/or ATOL protected before sending them any information. You can verify these details on the ABTA/ATOL websites.
  • If there is an offer promoted on a social media page (or in an email), do not click on the link contained on the page itself. Instead, go directly to the website itself, and claim any offer/promotion via this route.
  • If you suspect you may have given information away on a fraudulent website, report it to Action Fraud
  • If you would like support as a result of becoming a victim of any crime, contact Victim Support on 01926 682 693.