Nigerian travelers have lost millions of naira to fraudsters who use fake airline websites to sell tickets to unsuspecting victims.
This was disclosed to THISDAY by the Director of Consumer Protection, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Adamu Abdullahi.
He disclosed that travellers who were unfortunate to access these fake sites and pay for tickets go to the airport, thinking that they had booked their flights only to realise that their tickets were fake.
Abdullahi said that recently Azman Air became the latest victim of the fraudsters who opened a website with the airlineâ€™s name, but instead of Airazman, which is the name of the correct website, they named theirs azmanair.
He said that when the report was made to NCAA, the agency and the airline held a meeting on how to resolve the problem and inform the travelling public to stop patronising the fake website.
We have a case with Azman. Some crooks opened a fake website named Azman Air but the real Azman Air airline is Air Azman. So they used the website to defraud people and rip them off of millions of Naira. So if by any chance you go to the website and entered the crooks site and go ahead and make payment you will find out that you are not billed for any flight.
We called Azman and told them they have to warn people and they placed advert on the pages of newspapers and other media. Then we made serious efforts to block the website, which we have now succeeded in doing. So if there is such issues please the general public should let us know,â€ he said.
According to him, many unsuspecting travellers have lost so much money through the fake sites and such fraud would have a corollary effect on online booking because many people would no more book their flights online.
Late last year, fake website was opened with the name of another airline, Air Peace which was also used to rip off travellers until the airline found out and sensitised the public through the media.
A statement by the Corporate Communications Manager of the airline, Mr. Chris Iwarah, confirmed that fraudsters were using fake internet sites and placing calls to members of the public to deposit money into different bank accounts for air tickets.
These dubious elements, who claim to be either members of staff or agents of Air Peace, have in the process obtained money from some unsuspecting members of the public. The fraudsters have also resorted to putting out fake advertorials soliciting applications from desperate job-seekers, who are usually instructed to make payments into personal bank accounts in order to secure the non-existent job offers, Iwarah has lamented.
He also said: “The fraudsters have also resorted to putting out fake advertorials soliciting applications from desperate job-seekers, who are usually instructed to make payments into personal bank accounts in order to secure the non-existent job offers.”
The airline warned members of the public to be wary of the schemes of the conmen, saying, “For the avoidance of doubt, there is no recruitment currently going on in Air Peace and the airline will never ask members of the public to make any payment directly or indirectly in exchange for employment.
“Air Peace also only maintains business relationships with recognized agents and will never ask members of the public to make payments for air tickets into any personal account.”