Travel agents alerted of lurking cyber fraud

MUSCAT: Travel offices are on a cautious mode after a series of incidents of fraudulent attempts to obtain the account details and credit card numbers of a travel agent came to light.
The perpetrator (s), posing to be a prospective traveller from some African country to any European country, would furnish a possible itinerary for travel on a said date, and subsequently ask for the bank details of the travel provider.
“This series of incidents is the latest in the cyber crimes where conmen posing to be passengers seek the bank details of travel agencies and dupe them of huge sums,” a cyber crime official of the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said.
The modus operandi of these cyber thieves are simple. The travel agent would receive a seemingly highly lucrative offer by e-mail seeking quote for a round trip including some of the best tourist destinations, preferred airline, names of the Pax and the like, and finally, seek credit card details of the agent and bank details.
“Using the customer details thus collected, the fraudster would quickly transfer funds out of the victim’s account before anyone realised what was happening,” added the official.
A random mail targeting travel agents would be like this:

Dear travel agent,

I’m Morito Nguamba from (country name) seeking to travel between the following sectors and the details given.
From any Gulf country to SINGAPORE
(1) ROUTE; ISTANBUL — ABUJA
DEPART: 20TH DECEMBER 2019
RETURN: 30TH DECEMBER 2019
CLASS: ECONOMY
PAX NAME: EZE/ KINGSLEY/ MR
AIRLINE: Any regional airline
LAGOS — any Gulf country
(2) ROUTE; LAGOS—DUBAI—LAGOS
DEPART: 18TH DECEMBER 2019
RETURN: 30TH DECEMBER 2019
CLASS: ECONOMY
PAX NAME: EZEGWU/ MIRACLE /MRS
AIRLINE: Any regional airline

Hope all this is clear to you
“Waiting to receive the flight, fares, and itinerary details as soon as possible. And in your reply kindly mail me your direct mobile phone numbers for a faster business communication. And also mail me your credit card payment link website”,

Best Regards,
Micheal.
“Such practices are the classic examples of the latest cyber fraud targeting travel agent,” said Sunil D’Souza, CEO, Travel Point.
“The best way is not to reply to such e-mails and, if possible, alert others of such potential cyber threats. We continuously educate our staff and create awareness on cyber frauds of any kind as such a deal would cost us a fortune,” he added.
The ROP and banks, time and again, urged both the citizens and residents not to fall prey to such calls and to stay cautious against cyber frauds targeting the vulnerable and free them of funds.
“Kindly refrain from sharing your bank account details with strangers who propose highly profitable business deals,” the cyber expert further said.