June 29, 2022


My Travel And Me

Does a travel agency have recourse if it falls victim to a ticketing fraud scheme?: Travel Weekly

Mark Pestronk

Q: Previous Monday early morning, as regular, I opened my agency’s airline ticketing documents to see what experienced been ticketed above the weekend. To my shock, I observed that my agency experienced issued numerous dozen tickets on Royal Air Maroc and Air France for travel from Abidjan, Ivory Coastline, to many details in Europe. No credit history cards were made use of in its place, these were being funds tickets. How did this take place? Is my company liable for payment of these tickets, which overall about $30,000?

A: The “Abidjan Phishing Fraud Plan” surfaced over 10 yrs ago, and law-enforcement authorities appeared to have put a halt to it for a though. Now the fraudsters are seemingly again in enterprise.

To my information, the only way that this fraud takes place is as follows: The fraudster sends an email (a phishing electronic mail) that appears to be from your GDS seller. The email states that the vendor wants the agent’s username and password in buy to install the most current GDS updates. The agent then replies with the asked for information, hence enabling the fraudster to access the agency’s GDS from any laptop or computer in the world. The fraudster helps make a reservations and problems ticket making use of the agency’s ARC variety.

The tickets are typically issued through a weekend, when the agency is most likely shut. In most scenarios, journey has by now taken area by Monday early morning, so it is too late to test to get the airline to stop the passenger from boarding in Abidjan. The kind of payment is often dollars, which usually means that, when you file your ARC report on the adhering to Tuesday, you have to authorize payment for these tickets out of your very own money.

ARC has two related guidelines in the agent reporting agreement. Very first, as a general rule, the agency should pay back for every single ticket issued using the agency’s ARC range. Next, as an exception, the agency can be relieved of legal responsibility for payment for the tickets if it can demonstrate that it was performing exercises “realistic treatment” at the time that the fraud transpired.

The ARC settlement defines “realistic care” by referring to Segment B of the ARC Marketplace Agent’s Handbook, which states:

“Agent have to exercise sensible treatment in the issuance or disclosure of ARC targeted visitors paperwork … to prevent the unauthorized issuance or use of this sort of visitors files …. “Acceptable care” contains productive, digital obstacle and authentication, e.g., log-in credentials.”

ARC’s policy has been that you must instruct personnel under no circumstances to give out their GDS logins in reaction to an e-mail, cellphone contact or text. If you can verify that you so instructed team, and if no one particular admits to obtaining fallen for a phishing e-mail, then there is a opportunity that ARC may perhaps concern a letter relieving you of liability.

Sadly, at minimum a person of the carriers that you identify usually takes the position that you will have to fork out for the ticket even if ARC issued a letter relieving you of legal responsibility. Your selections are to pay, negotiate a reduction or get rid of the carrier’s appointment and possibility a lawsuit.