Air travel amid COVID-19: Emirates warns of coronavirus-related phishing email, scams

Air travel amid COVID-19: Emirates warns of coronavirus-related phishing email, scams

Emirates airline warned the public against phishing email attacks that claim previously booked air tickets were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and offer a fake link for a “refund.”

The Dubai-based airline said: “We’ve been alerted to recent email phishing attacks that contain the subject ‘Your flight is cancelled: collect your refund.’ These are not emails sent from Emirates.”

It added: “Please be careful to protect your personal information and don’t respond or click on links in such emails. The easiest way to detect a fake email is to look at the email address it was sent from.”

“All official emails from Emirates are sent from one of these two email addresses: [email protected] or [email protected]

According to the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: “Phishing emails are crafted to look as if they’ve been sent from a legitimate organization. These emails attempt to fool you into visiting a bogus web site to either download malware (viruses and other software intended to compromise your computer) or reveal sensitive personal information. The perpetrators of phishing scams carefully craft the bogus web site to look like the real thing.”

There have been several attempts to scam people for money, utilizing the current uncertainty surrounding and restrictions on air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Consulate General of India in Dubai warned Indian nationals in the UAE of people running scams, collecting money and claiming to operate repatriation flights.

Also, Pakistan’s Consul-General in Dubai warned Pakistani nationals against buying tickets online for repatriation flights as there are fraudsters who run scams targeting Pakistanis seeking repatriation flights out of Dubai.

Flight operations

Emirates airlines website recently enabled the option to book flights out of Dubai to 16 destinations in 12 Arab countries, starting from July 1.

The airline’s website allowed booking flights to destinations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan and Sudan.

However, the airline was keen to emphasize that while it is allowing bookings, the situation remains dynamic and could be subject to change.

“Currently some of our flights are available for booking starting 1 July, however the situation still remains dynamic and these flight services could be subject to change. We aim to provide our customers with as much notice as possible should there be any changes,” said Emirates in a statement.

“COVID-19 flight and travel restrictions remain in place across many countries around the world. We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow. This includes receiving government approvals, the easing of travel restrictions, and commercial demand. We will announce any service resumption when we are in a position to do so,” it added.

The airline had also announced earlier in the month, operating flights to the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the US, Canada, and Australia until June 30.

The UAE had suspended all passenger and transit flights to and from the country on March 23 as part of the efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

It is currently unclear when all government restrictions on air travel will be lifted.

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