Using a credit card to fraudulently purchase airline tickets.
November 3, 2006 3:29 PM   Subscribe

What is the upside, or rationale, for purchasing fraudulent airline tickets?

In early October I purchased an international round trip ticket on line from one of the major US airlines. Today when I received my credit card statement there were charges for 5 additional one way domestic tickets--the credit card statement indicated the names of the passengers, date of flight and destination. The air line told me the tickets were used (today as a matter of fact) and based on the information I gave them appeared to be fraudulent and consistent with fraudulent patterns. I then notified the credit card company and they are going to treat them as fraudulent.I have no liability because of the card I have. However, I have two basic question:
1) How could this happen--they were purchased on line and there were no other fraudulent charges except the five airline tickets. The card has subsequent charges that are valid ( The credit card company did close the account.
2) Given the photo ID and other information one has to use when flying isn't this a fairly risky thing to buy and then use. They have the name (alias) of the passengers, thir point of origin and departure and they were all used today to the same destination.
posted by rmhsinc to Work & Money (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
are you sure the people who actually flew were aware the tickets were booked fraudulently? imagine your 'friend' books tickets for all of you, he gets this great deal and you pay him cash... they might not have known what he got them into. also: fake id's are pretty easy to come by and let's face it, the tsa can't even detect a fake boarding pass.

or perhaps they thought they could get away with it. there are some pretty weird people out there...
posted by krautland at 3:36 PM on November 3, 2006

Perhaps the person flying is not the fraudster but another victim -- e.g. someone posing as a travel agent offers them a ridiculously good deal, they pay the "agent" $300 dollars for the ticket, the agent charges the $500 price of the ticket to your card and disappears with the money.

That's pure speculation, but AFAICT when credit card fraudsters buy tangible items, they are usually buying them to resell so maybe someone has a plane ticket scam that is similar.
posted by winston at 3:40 PM on November 3, 2006

Except you can't transfer/resell a plane ticket. You can cash them in but the refund will be issued in the same instrument used to pay for them.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:52 PM on November 3, 2006

It seems like they did get away with it. They flew and they may have a warrent out for them, but they got to where they wanted to be.
posted by Megafly at 5:56 PM on November 3, 2006

Except you can't transfer/resell a plane ticket

Of course. My point is that fraudster would be putting the tickets in the (other) victim(s) name rather than his/her own.
posted by winston at 6:32 PM on November 3, 2006

If someone has fake ID, they wouldn't have a real credit card of their own in the fake name. And even if they did they wouldn't want to use it because it could be traced. So to travel by air they'd have to do something like what happened to you. If the time between payment and travel is short enough, there's virtually no chance that they'd be found out.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:47 PM on November 3, 2006

Also, for domestic flights, you don't need a passport do you? Seems it'd be WAY easier to fly on a fake driving license than a fake passport.
posted by antifuse at 10:26 AM on November 4, 2006

Perchance, were the tickets to Mumbai? (self link)

I suspect in my case, they got my credit card information either by hacking or buying the information from a company where I bought a hard case wallet for my brother. Aside from that, there's no way they'd get my credit card info.
posted by damnjezebel at 2:14 PM on November 4, 2006

If someone has fake ID, they wouldn't have a real credit card of their own in the fake name.

I just had a nasty fight with my credit card company over that issue. someone walked into a new york apple store and spent $3,500 with my credit card while I was in illinois. I was able to prove (through credit card receipts for the same day, d'oh) that it couldn't have possibly been me only to hear that (a) the person had my I.D. and (b) the actual card. thing is: I had both in front of me when the rep said that and they had never been missing until then.

I got the money back but to be honest ... the fake I.D. and credit card excuse kind of doesn't seem to work anymore.
posted by krautland at 8:16 PM on November 4, 2006

If you've been paying attention to the news lately, you'll recall the big hullaballoo about the Indiana University PhD student that created a fake boarding pass generator. He did this to point out a weakness in the security process at airports in this country, but it could just as easily be exploited to let you buy tickets on stolen credit cards as it would to let terrorists get through security.

Read this article from Slate for a more detailed analysis.
posted by zachk at 8:45 PM on November 5, 2006

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