Travel Fraud Trends: How to Prevent Travel Fraud in 2022

Travel Fraud Trends Impacting your Business

Theodore Esser

Feb 15, 2022

Travel Fraud Trends Impacting your Business

With the peak holiday travel season behind us, we are looking to see what travel fraud trends 2022 has in store. If the past two years are any indicator, there will surely be some surprises along the way! This uncertainty can be unnerving at times, especially for fraud prevention managers.

When looking to the future, I often draw from the past for guidance, and with nine years of experience at Accertify Strategic Risk Services I’ve learned quite a lot, and I would like to share three main points that have held up against the test of time across numerous industries and clients:

1. Investigating an issue can highlight other concerns

In Strategic Risk Services, there is a significant focus on preventing card-not-present fraud for merchants. Accertify helped solve that challenge for our merchant customers, and as we investigated the data, we found other ways to help protect them.

One specific customer had a fraud chargeback problem and came to us looking for help. We noticed a variety of anomalies surrounding different event types in the customer lifecycle. There were bookings made with loyalty points from accounts that were recently open and had an unusually high balance for a new account. We also noticed tickets that were getting exchanged and reissued for travel were completely different from that of the initial booking. By bringing these insights to them, we became partners in solving these problems and helping the airline prevent other travel fraud issues.

What started as simply card-not-present fraud review, resulted in Accertify becoming an integral partner in the airline’s overall revenue protection and travel fraud prevention strategy. Beyond card-not-present fraud, we also helped protect this airline’s buy/gift/transferring of loyalty points program, award bookings, reissued tickets, exchanged tickets, card-present transactions and gift card sales.

2. Help one, help them all

In the fraud prevention world, there can be some late nights. I recall one occasion when I was a fraud analyst taking phone calls from actual fraudsters inquiring about why their airline ticket was refunded. Little did they know, we had canceled their ticket because we had already seen them – across multiple airlines – cycle through five other credit cards from five other billing addresses with five different cardholders. We were able to employ multi-source logic from Accertify’s other airlines subscribing to Accertify’s Airlines Industry Model to prevent the travel fraud attack from impacting Accertify’s other airlines’ clients. 

This was not an isolated incident. Accertify has uncovered several fraud rings like this over the years and because our teams aggregate and accumulate data from subscribing clients within the same industry, we’ve been able to proactively prevent a lot of fraudsters from taking advantage of other organizations. Most recently, our strategists uncovered a cloned card fraud ring where fraudsters were going to airport ticket offices (“ATOs”) to purchase fraudulent airline tickets to try and avoid detection on the airlines’ web, mobile and reservations sales channels. Unfortunately for fraudsters, Accertify protects ATOs as well.

3. New Schemes Can Result in Fraud Peaks

Fraudsters can be tricky. Another recent scam we identified was with fraudulent ticket exchanges where the refunds were being issued to a different payment form. This allowed the fraudsters to amass an extremely large credit on the original payment by exchanging and refunding a ticket multiple times in rapid succession. We worked quickly and diligently with our airline partners to identify the vulnerable exchange activities and devise a solution to shut them down.

This activity contributed to a peak in fraud. And while we don’t always know what the next big peak will be, we do know small problems escalate quickly if not investigated and actioned immediately. It requires constant attention to make sure our customers are always protected.

So what can you do to stay protected?

Whether you’re dealing with a prior issue, navigating something you haven’t seen before or the next big travel fraud trend, The Accertify Strategic Risk Services team has experts dedicated to helping our customers stay protected. We have our customers back and we can have your back as well! Contact us today to learn more.