Agent warns of new phishing scam, here’s how to avoid it

By Harry Kemble
01/03/2023
Home » Agent warns of new phishing scam, here’s how to avoid it

A travel agent has discovered a new phishing scam that tries to lure travel professionals into giving access to their social media accounts.  

Bognor Regis-based homeworker Paul Dobson, who owns The Independent Travel Agent, spotted the scam on Facebook last week.

He immediately reported it to the social media giant and posted a warning to thousands of other agents in the Travel Gossip Facebook group.

Paul also shared a series of screenshots detailing how the scam works. 

Paul Dobson has warned agents about the Facebook phishing scam

The phishing scam post, from ‘Security Web’s Account 2023’, warns travel agents their Facebook account will be deactivated if they don’t ‘confirm their identity’.

It asks them to click through various pages that appear to have the Facebook branding or that of its parent company Meta.

During the sham verification process, businesses are asked to share their login details which could allow those behind the phishing scam to access companies’ social media pages.

The post goes on to say ‘if no action is taken to verify the safety and security of your account within 24 hours, your page and account will be automatically disabled/ blocked and you will no longer be able to use it. Thank you for helping us improve our services.’

The Independent Travel Agent was tagged in such a post alongside Elite Worldchoice Travel Agency; an Althams Travel branch and several other agencies and homeworkers.

Initially, Paul says the criminals tagged lots of businesses, but they have recently reduced the number to around 10 to avoid detection from Facebook.

If the criminals were able to access an agent’s Facebook account, they could have access to customers’ details and post on their page.

Paul said customers wouldn’t suspect they were being scammed by criminals via their travel agency’s social media account.

“For independent travel agents, social media is their shop window. If a homeworker is successfully targeted by this phishing scam it’s effectively like someone taking over your shop.

“What they choose to do with that access, I don’t know.”

Addressing other agents, Paul, who launched his agency business in 2020, said: “If something looks genuine, check where it’s sending you.

“Look at the address in the URL bar that’s normally what flags a scam for me. That’s the best way of avoiding it. If you’re not sure about something do not do it.”

Travel Gossip has contacted Facebook for a comment.

Have you been targeted by this scam? Email [email protected]

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