Using fake websites, criminals rip off inexperienced customers who book a flight in a private jet for the first time. The Corona crisis plays into their hands.
The Corona crisis has minimized the number of scheduled flights in recent months. Some travellers who can afford it are now chartering private jets for the first time as an alternative. Traveling in this way is safer and they reach their destination quickly. But criminals are taking advantage of that.
Dave Edwards of the Air Charter Association tells aeroTELEGRAPH that fraudsters are deliberately creating fake websites. They use photos, texts and jet registrations which they copy from the websites of real air charter services.
Fraudsters pay money for google ads
«The unknowing victim will then pay on the fake website and when the confirmation comes though, it includes bank account details for a different company. The issue is then only raised, once the victim turns up for their flight at the airport,» he explains.
The fraudsters pay considerable sums of money to appear high up in Google searches and lure unsuspecting customers to their fake websites. In addition, “They clearly have some knowledge of the aviation sector, as they’re able to provide aircraft details of legitimate charter aircraft.» Edwards adds.
Do research on the company
Little more is known about the perpetrators by the Air Charter Association. On the other hand, according to Edwards, it seems to be clear that «the most frequent victims are those who are new to business aviation, so therefore they’re unable to spot some of the incorrect practices that are taking place in the process.»
Robert Baltus of the European Business Aviation Association also advises operators, brokers and customers to be vigilant. «Don’t simply book a private jet charter flight without doing any research on the business you’re working with and making sure it is legitimate,» he says.
Speak to your broker
It is important to speak to your broker and let them explain to you who they are and what the best option is for you. Make sure you get references for your broker if you have not dealt with them before.