On Friday, Interpol and other police organizations announced a successful raid to catch plane ticket fraudsters: people using stolen IDs and credit cards to purchase airline tickets.
The raids, which took place at 80 airports around the world, resulted in 118 arrests and was pronounced a major success. The problem is a big deal: airlines likely suffer almost $2 billion in annual losses due to this type of scam. It’s a honeypot for criminals, given the high value of tickets and the short timeframe to verify identities before issuing a ticket.
Over 60 airlines participated in the operation, teaming with credit companies to manually verify tickets that seemed fishy, and passing the information to the Interpol team.
One interesting outcome of the sting operation was finding how often the fraud was connected to other types of crime, such as human trafficking or drug trafficking.
Recently, we at Trustev have worked with a number of airlines to stop plane ticket fraud, and were shocked at the prevalence and scale of the problem.
Because ticket buyers are travelling, purchasing tickets from near-random locations and at short notice, airlines say that older-generation antifraud systems are hopelessly incapable of detecting fraud in real time. (We can help!)
More information about the police raids, here’s the Europol press release.