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Date: 17th Sept. 2015
To All IATO Members
Sub: Cautious Notice regarding Cyber Crime happening to dupe Indian Travel Organizations.
Our Regional Chapter Chairman, (Western Region) has brought to our notice about some cyber-crime happening to dupe Indian Travel agents/ Tour operators etc. In fact, it is a note from Travel Agent Federation of India (TAFI) to caution their members of this new modus operandi being executed by means of Cyber Crime. This caution notice is equally applicable for our members & all members must ensure that the Sanctity /authenticity about the business leads so that no one gets duped by such unethical peoples.
Please do read the caution notice circulated by TAFI to all their members, Attached for your information & strict Compliance.
Date: 15th September, 2015. CIR/ALL/061/2015-16
TRAVEL AGENTS FEDERATION OF INDIA
Greetings from the TAFI Secretariat !
We wish to bring to your kind attention and also caution our members of a new modus operandi being executed by means of Cyber Crime to dupe travel agents. Regretfully in the last 6 months 2 agents have been cheated/duped for Rs.10 lakhs and Rs. 1 crore respectively.
The manner by which this operation takes place is as follows:
Agency receives a mail from his regular corporate house travel desk stating that their counterpart overseas would like to get some tickets issued, forwarding a mail received from the counterpart. They would caution you in the beginning that the payments would come directly from overseas. The mail explains the reason for ticketing with you being the revamping of their global travel desk and they would normally be SOTO tickets requested for, over the weekend. All mails are copied to the referral company making it hard to smell the danger especially since the agency has usually dealt with the company's international office / client in the past.
The agency got suspicious only on wondering as to why all tickets are of immediate travel, all group movements & to top that - the Director of a multinational company was himself calling for the tickets.
It was found that the mail had not originated from the company but was a hacked mail.
Original email address: email@example.com, fake mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Even the referral company was taken for a ride at both places. No one had cross-checked to see whether the mail address was genuine or not.
Money recovery becomes impossible as crime originates from a remote cyber café somewhere in Africa.
Steps to keep in mind.
1. Verify the address , if need be call the direct number of the company not the one mailed and recheck.
2. Immediate travel & travel in group means something is wrong.
3. SOTO tickets is a NO NO without rechecking.
4. A guarantee for payment is a must , even if it is from their own office outside India. They can always get away later stating it was not their address & the mails were hacked.
Do not fall into this trap & do take utmost caution & remain alert always.
Executive Secretary General – TAFI