Beware of scammers – offering compensation for disrupted travel plans

11 May 2010

The recent volcanic eruption in Iceland resulted in thousands of flights cancelled and travel plans disrupted. Past experience shows that scammers commonly exploit domestic and global events to trick victims.

Based on overseas reports, a new scam is circulating asking passengers affected by the volcanic eruption to provide personal details, including passport information, in return for compensation. These scam emails purport to be sent on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

These messages have not been sent by the CAA. Passengers are asked to delete these messages immediately. There is a high risk that any personal information received will be misused. There is no CAA fund for compensating passengers affected by the volcanic ash disruption.

Scammers may also pretend to work for various airline companies in an attempt to obtain money or your personal details.

SCAMwatch advises consumers to be suspicious if they receive unsolicited emails/letters pretending to be from airline companies and/or government agencies. If in doubt, always call the airline and/or government agency to verify whether it is a genuine request.

Protect yourself

  • If you receive an email purporting to be sent by a CAA representative, delete it! CAA advises affected passengers to contact their airline in the first instance.
  • If your flight has been cancelled, you should check the airline's terms and conditions. Most airlines will provide a refund or an alternative flight and some may also provide assistance during the disruption. You should also check your travel insurance as this may cover you for the cost of accommodation and some other essential expenses.
  • Never send your personal, credit card or banking details in an email or over the phone. Scammers will use your details to commit identity fraud or steal your money.
  • If you are unsure whether you have received a legitimate request, call the airline by using contact details from legitimate sources- such as through an internet search and telephone directories. Don’t rely on the contact details provided to you in an email or through the phone.
  • Check your bank account and credit card statements when you get them. If you see a transaction that you cannot explain, report it to your credit union or bank.

Report

You can also report this matter via the report a scam page on the SCAMwatch website.

More information

Refer to the alert released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for more information about the circulating scam. [link no longer available]

Explore SCAMwatch to find out more about scams that commonly target Australians (such as phishing scams) and learn how you can protect yourself against scammers.

 

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