This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
With air charter demand rising due to returning and new customers entering the market amidst Covid-19 concerns, the Air Charter Association (ACA) and EBAA are warning of increased online fraud.
As commercial aviation is greatly constrained currently, and with many travelers seeking to protect their health by limiting their public exposure, private charter has become an even more attractive option, and the two trade organizations noted that criminals are creating websites with images and information lifted from actual companies, including names, aircraft registrations, and even contract templates to fool potential customers.
“Alongside this rise in private jet charter, there has been an increase in fraudsters to steal money from unsuspecting travelers and criminals trying to enter the chain,” explained ACA CEO Dave Edwards. “They are paying significant amounts of money to get high Google Ad search engine ratings and funnel unsuspecting customers to these fake websites.”
EBAA COO Robert Balthus added, “Our advice for operators, brokers, and end-users is to be vigilant." He suggested potential charter customers wait to book a private flight until they do research on the business they are working with to ensure it is legitimate. “Verify bank details before making payment transfers and above all, listen to your instincts and check with an independent source such as EBAA or the ACA. If it feels wrong, it invariably is.”