Europol Airline Ticket Fraud Crackdown


There is another interesting news piece from last week that I feel need covering here on LoyaltyLobby. Europol orchestrated airline ticket fraud “crackdown” last week that resulted 68 or 70 (depending on the source) people arrested.

Europol Airline Ticket Fraud

European Cyber Crime Center at Europol in co-operation with airline, travel and credit card companies trying to identify fraudulent airline ticket purchases (and illegal immigration).

You can read more about this on Infologue’s website here or on eTurbonews’ website here.

The crackdown took place at more than 68 airports in 32 countries: 24 EU member countries plus Brazil, Colombia, Iceland, Norway, Peru, Switzerland, Ukraine and the US.

Representatives from 35 airlines worked directly with the EC3, police agencies across the European Union, US Secret Service, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Colombian National Police and payment card companies Visa Europe, MasterCard and American Express to identify suspicious airline ticket sales made via the Internet.

After receiving alerts from airlines of more than 265 suspicious transactions, payment card companies reviewed the transactions using their own financial data systems and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) provided fraud intelligence.

Notifications were sent to airports across the world, where police detained criminals attempting to travel using fraudulently obtained flight tickets.


While it is certainly good trying to identify ticket purchases made using stolen credit card info, this “crackdown” doesn’t seemed to have been THAT successful considering all the resources used.

The airlines were only able to identify 265 suspicious transactions that resulted around 70 arrests (remember that arrests are not same as convictions).

Sometimes buying an airline ticket directly from an airline’s own website is such a hassle due to all “security” measures that it is easier to use one of the OTA’s. This is especially the case with many of the Asian airlines.

If you are running a business, you will never collect every penny. There is shrinkage on retail business (mainly through he backdoor) and credit card transactions can always be disputed. There is also costs of handling the cash for cash based businesses.