Qatar Airways Phishing Scam Targets Users on WhatsApp

July 26, 2019 1:39 pm Geraldine Strawbridge Qatar Airways Phishing scam

Qatar Airways has urged customers to be vigilant after a phishing scam has circulated on WhatsApp purporting to give away free airline tickets.

With the holiday season in full swing, fraudsters have launched the phishing scam hoping to take advantage of holidaymakers looking to book a break away.

WhatsApp users have received a message saying: “Qatar Airways is giving two free tickets to every family to celebrate its 25th anniversary.”

The scam then directs users to a link that is very similar to the official Qatar Airways website. The only difference between the two web addresses is the phishing link contains a small letter “ą”, while the official link has a regular ‘a’. This small but crucial difference will be enough to dupe many unsuspecting users into falling for the scam.

Upon clicking the link, users are directed through to a website informing them how many free tickets are left in the promotion. They are then asked to complete a survey before progressing through to the next stage of the scam.

As soon as the survey is complete, users are asked to share the link with 15 WhatsApp contacts before they are allowed to claim their free airline tickets.

Image: Qatar Airways Phishing Email

Qatar airways Phishing scam

Source: Channel News

The airline is not running a promotion like the one used in the scam, and the company was forced to release a statement after the message began to circulate widely on WhatsApp.

Qatar Airways commented on the phishing email: “It has come to our attention that members of the public are receiving a link that appears to be from Qatar Airways or any of the subsidiaries of the Qatar Airways Group, where it falsely states they can book travel tickets as part of an anniversary promotion.

“Please note that such a link may come from unknown domains that mimic an official Qatar Airways website and may ask you to reply to share information to claim an offer. Such links are phishing scams that could compromise your personal information. These are false offers requesting that you share it before unlocking the offer.”

The company also urged customers to only buy Qatar Airways tickets from: qatarairways.com, any Qatar Airways Sales office or an appointed IATA travel agency.

To protect yourself from falling victim to any of the current holiday phishing scams doing the rounds, you should:

  • Never click on suspicious links within a message
  • Make sure the site you are on is safe and secure. Look for a padlock symbol in the address bar and check that the website URL begins with a ‘https://’ or ‘shttp://’
  • Look closely at the spelling of the web address and check for any minor inconsistencies that may indicate a phishing website
  • Only book travel arrangements through reputable companies
  • Make sure your travel company is a member of a recognised trade association like ABTA or has an ATOL logo and number.

Despite the increasing sophistication of phishing attacks, there are a number of ways you can protect yourself online. MetaPhish has been designed to protect businesses from phishing and ransomware attacks and provides the first line of defence in combatting cyber-crime. Get in touch for further information on how we can help your business.