by Avon and Somerset Police
We want to make you aware of a scam currently circulating on WeChat targeting international students.
What’s the scam?
After a recommendation from a friend, victims are joining a WeChat group where a fraudster is claiming to be selling low-price flight tickets to China.
How is the crime committed?
Victims are sending money for these flight tickets and being told they are able to get a refund at any time before the tickets are issued. Nearer the time of the flight, victims aren’t being issued their tickets and when trying to get a refund, the suspect becomes uncontactable.
How to avoid it happening to you
Do not respond to unsolicited messages on social media or chat platforms. Fraudsters will often offer fares that are a lot lower than their competitors which can be a warning sign. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Only book flights through recognised firms. Here’s some advice on how to spot a reputable one:
- Look for whether the agent is an IATA license holder. The majority are, and if so, they are required to issue tickets immediately on full payment.
- A few agents do buy in legitimate tickets from other companies which will have an ATOL license – ask for a confirmation invoice from the ATOL holder supplying the ticket.
- In both cases, full details of the flights and itinerary should be shown along with a six digit number (the PNR – Passenger Name Record) – which is the unique id for your flight reservations – check this to make sure your ticket is genuine.
- Preferably pay by credit card and avoid paying directly into a private individual’s bank account.
If you are the victim of fraud you can report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or on their website.