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Credit Card Applications » News » Travel » Frequent Flyer Credit Card Customers Latest Fraud Target

Frequent Flyer Credit Card Customers Latest Fraud Target

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Everyone with an email address is familiar with “phishing” emails – messages from people asking for help or alerting you to danger. From alleged African princes who want to deposit money in your bank account and then give you a percentage, to good Samaritans supposedly alerting you to the fact that your account has been compromised and you need to change your passwords, most people know to send these emails straight to the trash folder.

However, there’s a new phishing scheme that’s becoming increasingly popular and is taking in even savvy email users who know enough not to respond to Nigerian royalty.

Phishing for Miles

Delta Airlines recently issued an alert to their SkyMiles customers, reading in part, “We have recently received reports from customers of fraudulent emails claiming to be from Delta Air Lines. These emails claim that you have purchased a Delta ticket, a credit card has been charged and/or an invoice or receipt is attached to the email.”

What’s going on? Simple – the latest scheme to steal your information is targeting members of frequent flyer programs, in order to do two things:

  • Get you to open an attachment that will install malware on your computer, which can record keystrokes and steal passwords, leading thieves to your bank and credit card accounts.
  • Get you to send them your frequent flyer account information directly, so they can use your miles to travel the world – or more likely, sell them to someone else who will take a trip courtesy of your miles.

Delta isn’t the only airline raising the red flag to try to protect its customers – US Airways also put up a message on their site advising customers, “we would never ask you to perform security-related changes to your account or send you an email asking about your user name, password or other personal information. If you receive a suspicious email, do not click on any links or open any attachments. Just delete it.”

Miles as Good as Cash

Many people may not realize that their frequent flyer miles can be used like cash, and anyone with their username and password can drain those miles right out of their loyalty account, just as they could from a bank account.

  • To protect your frequent flyer account, Delta and Us Airways gave a few of the following tips:
  • Change your account numbers, passwords, and PINs
  • Keep a close eye on your account and monitor all activity
  • Never click on links in emails or open attachments
  • Delete suspicious emails from your inbox

Suspicious Signs

Both Delta and US Airways want customers to know that they never send emails asking them to make changes to their accounts or asking for usernames, passwords, or other personal data. Things to watch for in emails, that usually indicate they are fraudulent, include these tip-offs:

  • Claims that they are offering free airline tickets
  • Requests for account information
  • Bad grammar, typos, and misspelled words
  • URLs that point to unfamiliar web addresses when you scroll over the links

Don’t Lose That Credit Card Sign-On Bonus

Many people sign up for a credit card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles card from American Express or the Virgin America Visa Signature Card for the sign-on bonuses (the Gold Delta card currently offers 30,000 bonus miles for new customers and the Virgin America card offers 25,000 airline travel points). It would be a shame to lose those sign-on bonuses to a phishing scheme, so people should be on the lookout and stay alert to suspicious emails if they want to keep those miles safe.

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  • Larry

    With the Virgin / Barclaycard signature offer, there seems to be some consumer deception or maybe even outright fraud goin on.   I decided to jump on this offer..  read all the info on it..  was approved for their platinum card, paid the fee, then was only awarded 10,000 points instead of the advertised 20,000.   When i inquired about the less than advertised bonus points, Barclaycard claims only Signiture Visa cardmembers get the 20,000..  as a platinum cardholder, you don’t qualify for that level of bonus, so you get 10k instead.   Well, in their current ongoing promotions, it states plain as day that….   

    Applicants approved for the Visa Signature or Platinum Card with $49 annual fee will receive 20,000 Bonus Points awarded to your Virgin America Rewards Account at the close of the first billing statement in which you make your first purchase or balance transfer (that is not returned or rescinded) and have paid the Annual Fee on the account (and such fee is not rescinded).

    They don’t mention anything about a separate program for platinum cardholders..  However, trying to get someone to resolve this issue with either Virgin or Barclaycard seems to be rather impossible..

    Seems to me they’re simply drawing people in with the fraudulent offer, then simply saying, oh, we’re sorry you don’t qualify..  but thanks for signing up for our garbage credit card with insane fees..   

    • CreditLandCom

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We have reviewed this offer and you are correct, nowhere it is mentioned that 20,000 Bonus can become a 10,000 Bonus all of a sudden… We will mention this in our review of this card so others can make an informed decision.

      Another way to get Virgin miles is to get an American Express charge card:

      The Business Gold Rewards Card® now offers 50,000 Miles, though you do have to spend $5,000 in the first three months of card membership to get it. It also has $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175.

      http://www.credit-land.com/details/the-business-gold-rewards-card-from-american-express-open.php

      Premier Rewards Gold Card now offers 25,000 Miles, though you do have to spend $2,000 during your first three months of Card membership. It also has annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $175.

      http://www.credit-land.com/details/american-express-premier-rewards-gold-card1.php

      While we do not know If any of these offers make sense to you, we are at least sure that you will get advertised bonus in full if you decide to get them…

      Conversion rates for Virgin America are:

      100 Elevate Points =
      200 Membership Rewards® Points

      All the best.

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