Think I’ve been victim of fraud/identity theft from airline Indian contact centre staff

Hi all

I rang a major foreign airline’s contact centre recently about a query & the staff member asked me for my frequent flyer account password, which I was reluctant to give but she said she couldn’t help without it, she assured me that the call was being recorded & I ended up giving her the password. Fast forward a few days, I received an email Monday saying a request has been received to cancel my business class reward flights, so I rang the airline & they reassured me it wasn’t the case & resent confirmation. Yesterday, I received another email saying the refund had been processed & again rang the airline who said this time the flights were cancelled & this was done by me. However, the agent saw the notes from my call the previous day & thought that something didn’t add up, so she said she would launch an investigation but she declined my request to send me an email to confirm this. They had also charged me $25 for the cancellation which the agent say they ‘might’ waive following the investigation.

I then tried to log into my frequent flyer account but it told me that my account was locked due to too many unsuccessful attempts although I could see that I was using the correct password which I had just changed on Monday after receiving the cancellation email. I had to once again change my password. Then I got a notification that someone has been trying to log into my email account (my frequent flyer log-in is my email address, so I presume they had tried with the password they had but thankfully I use a different password for my email).

In short, these flights were reward flights paid with airmiles plus tax but starting in Frankfurt, as there was no availability from London. I’ve paid for a connecting flight from London & hotel overnight in Frankfurt, the airline has said that it does not have any more reward flights available in Europe to my destination for the rest of the month & I must absolutely travel this weekend as going for a wedding. I have packed according to my business class baggage allowance (2x 32kgs). I have insurance already but if I book full fare business class flights, I’m not sure I will be covered. In my frequent flyer account were also all my details (passport, credit card, address etc.). I’m not sure what my recourse is exactly, I’ve reported it to Action Fraud but totally clueless as to what to do about my flights. The airline said I should have alerted them before the flights were cancelled….I did as soon I got the 1st email on Monday saying I have requested a refund came, but all they did was said it was all fine & resent confirmation & by the time I got the other email saying the refund had been processed, they said it was too late to do anything but they will investigate. This airline I heard is not really good with dealing with complaints like this.

Please can anyone advise? This is such a bizarre situation & it appears the person might have stolen my Avios points too. When I have rang the airline again the staff never asked for my frequent flyer account password, so it was obvious that the staff I spoke to last week did this fraudulently. I’m not hopeful the airline will do anything about it as it would be an embarrassment to them (this is not a European airline).

«13

Comments

  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,520
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Set up protective registration @ CIFAS

    https://www.cifas.org.uk/pr
    Life in the slow lane
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,763
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    Forumite

    a major foreign airline’s contact centre

    [...]

    I’m not sure what my recourse is exactly, I’ve reported it to Action Fraud but totally clueless as to what to do about my flights.

    [...]

    This airline I heard is not really good with dealing with complaints like this.  
    [...]

    this is not a European airline

    Why so coy about naming the airline?

    Action Fraud won't be able to do anything about a non-European airline's Indian call centre, so you'll need to pursue the airline, unless there's any mileage in taking it up with Avios, which seems something of a long shot.  I doubt your insurer would cover this scenario, but have you checked your policy documents?
  • IvanOpinion
    IvanOpinion Posts: 22,126
    Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    Forumite
    edited 18 October 2023 at 12:06PM
    If you have not already done so, turn on two factor authentication immediately, where you can, and change any passwords that are the same or similar to the one you told the agent.

    I can think of very very few circumstances where an agent might ask for a password or PIN number - in general never provide these.
    Past caring about first world problems.
  • Why so coy about naming the airline?

    Action Fraud won't be able to do anything about a non-European airline's Indian call centre, so you'll need to pursue the airline, unless there's any mileage in taking it up with Avios, which seems something of a long shot.  I doubt your insurer would cover this scenario, but have you checked your policy documents?
    Because they said they would investigate and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, this ME airline (who use Avios) is known to have banned people for little petty reasons. 

    I will check my insurance documents, but as far as I'm concerned the airline has cancelled my flights, I did ring them to alert them that I had received an email saying I've requested a cancellation and refund which was not my request, but all they said was that this was incorrect and assured me my booking was live (by resending confirmation). 
    I can think of very very few circumstances where an agent might ask for a password or PIN number - in general never provide these.
    Yes, I know and I did challenged it but she said without it she cannot assist, I didn't know any wiser as she said "don't worry the call is being recorded for security purposes" , I mean what else could I do but succumb? I mean Amex ask for your PIN or Password when you ring them?! 
  • Caz3121
    Caz3121 Posts: 15,514
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    It does sound strange. Did you get the telephone number from the official airline website?
    There are cases where someone 'googles' (or equivalent) and follows a paid ad to a third party site instead of the official number...because these third parties link the phone numbers to the airline name internally, they can answer the phone with "hello, how can I help with your "airline name" booking?" 

  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,881
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    Forumite
    Caz3121 said:
    It does sound strange. Did you get the telephone number from the official airline website?
    There are cases where someone 'googles' (or equivalent) and follows a paid ad to a third party site instead of the official number...because these third parties link the phone numbers to the airline name internally, they can answer the phone with "hello, how can I help with your "airline name" booking?" 

    Thinking this too.
  • Caz3121@Westin. Thanks, actually it does sort of make sense, I’ve googled the number (+442037693132) and it is not coming up as one of the airline’s now, the said agent also gave me false information and when challenged she was extremely rude and ended the call abruptly after I asked to speak to a manager or someone else. I mean it was quite shocking for an airline with that kind of reputation and she was very heavily accented too (I’m told Indian call centre staff are trained to speak with a softer accent when dealing with UK customers).

    However, I rang the very same number again on Monday upon receiving the first cancellation email but this time another agent with an Indian accent gave me another number which specifically deals with cancellation, and this is showing as belonging to the airline on their official website, and the agent who spoke to me on that number did not sound Indian. So why would the first agent give me a genuine number if he was part of the scam (from this number +442037693132)?

    Perhaps the agent who conned me was about to leave her job at the airline and couldn’t care less. But either way, I did forewarn the airline (on Monday) and told them not to cancel the flights unless I ring them again, but they said to ignore the email which was dismissed as a mistake. Hence, the flight cancellation and stealing of Avios could have been avoided had the airline followed my instruction. I mean they are responsible for me not being on the flight and the loss of Avios (my Avios balance with them was zero until they refunded them 130,000 points), all that would have happened otherwise would the stealing of my details which I could have resolved in another way.


  •  I mean Amex ask for your PIN or Password when you ring them?! 
    No they don't.  
  • bagand96
    bagand96 Posts: 6,015
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    edited 18 October 2023 at 9:12PM

    Caz3121@Westin. Thanks, actually it does sort of make sense, I’ve googled the number (+442037693132) and it is not coming up as one of the airline’s now, the said agent also gave me false information and when challenged she was extremely rude and ended the call abruptly after I asked to speak to a manager or someone else. I mean it was quite shocking for an airline with that kind of reputation and she was very heavily accented too (I’m told Indian call centre staff are trained to speak with a softer accent when dealing with UK customers).

    However, I rang the very same number again on Monday upon receiving the first cancellation email but this time another agent with an Indian accent gave me another number which specifically deals with cancellation, and this is showing as belonging to the airline on their official website, and the agent who spoke to me on that number did not sound Indian. So why would the first agent give me a genuine number if he was part of the scam (from this number +442037693132)?

    Perhaps the agent who conned me was about to leave her job at the airline and couldn’t care less. But either way, I did forewarn the airline (on Monday) and told them not to cancel the flights unless I ring them again, but they said to ignore the email which was dismissed as a mistake. Hence, the flight cancellation and stealing of Avios could have been avoided had the airline followed my instruction. I mean they are responsible for me not being on the flight and the loss of Avios (my Avios balance with them was zero until they refunded them 130,000 points), all that would have happened otherwise would the stealing of my details which I could have resolved in another way.


    Quickly Googled the number you quote and I found it on a website listing it under "How do I get a human at Easyjet airlines"

    easyJet are not a "Middle East airline that use Avios."  That number doesn't belong to easyJet and I'm willing to bet it doesn't not belong to any ME Airline.  How do I get a human at EasyJet Airlines? | +44 (20) 37693132 (travelflys.com)

    EDIT: and here they are listing that number for a ME airline. How can I get in touch with Qatar in the UK? (travelflys.com).

    I think you may well have been scammed. I don't think it was airline staff though. At least you may have somewhere to start now....
  • bagand96 Thanks, I did see that as well (about easyJet); however I spoke to the airline this eve and they don't dispute that I rang at the time I said which led to me giving my password to the agent. The person on the online chat asked for the date and time of the call, took a while to get back but he eventually did saying they will listen to the call tomorrow as the department that does was shut. But who knows if he did actually located the call? 

    I think I still have a legitimate complaint against the airline regardless. After receiving the first email on Monday, I specifically told them NOT to cancel the flights UNLESS I ring them but they're now saying the cancellation was done from my frequent flyer account. The cancellation was done on Tuesday, the Monday email was just to say a cancellation request has been received but it was actioned on Tuesday, so there was still time to save the booking, which is what the agent told me on Tuesday (I should have rang after the first email, which I did...when she saw that I did from the notes on the booking all she said was - "oh!" & didn't know what else to say, she then placed me on hold, came back saying they will investigate). 

Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.6K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.6K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.1K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.7K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 605.8K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.4K Life & Family
  • 246.6K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards