Phishing Scam Directed at Emirates Air Targets Thousands of Arab Americans
By: Michael Springmann/Arab America Contributing Writer
Do Arab Americans place too much trust in empty promises? Are they susceptible to scams? Do they believe in Something for Nothing?
Last week, the ether was in turmoil. Emirates.com was allegedly offering two free tickets on its flights. Supposedly, the airline was celebrating 33 years of quality service. BUT, this was a phishing expedition and a number of Arab Americans got caught. They trusted in what appeared to be the proper website: Emirates.com.
But it wasn’t. It was a scam aimed at nailing Arab Americans looking to adopt one of Arab America’s New Year Resolutions (Kameron Dreher: 9. Visit the Homeland)
Merriam Webster defines phishing as: “a scam by which an Internet user is duped (as by a deceptive e-mail message) into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly.” While the real airline’s real web address is: Emirates.com, the scam address was: http://emirátes.com/free-tickets/ Note the very slight difference, the accent mark over the “a” in Emirates.
This wasn’t the first time Emirates had been targeted. According to a statement reported in the Gulf News, “Early last year, the airline confirmed there had been phishing attempts to lure users into participating in a fake survey.” The paper went on to say “… Scammers are sending out links to users online, enticing them to participate in an Emirates survey and get two free tickets in return…The UAE-based airline urged residents not to click on the link and share it with their friends. A spokesperson said an investigation into the scam has already been undertaken.
So, what can you, as a smart Arab American consumer, do?
- If you aren’t 100 percent certain of the sender’s authenticity, don’t click on attachments or embedded links; both are likely to result in malware being installed…
- Similarly, never submit confidential information via forms embedded in or attached to email messages…
- Be wary of emails asking for financial information.
- Don’t fall for scare tactics…
- Be suspicious of social media invitations from people you don’t know.
- Watch out for generic-looking requests for information…
- Ignore emails with typos and misspellings…
- Update and maintain effective software to combat phishing…
And, don’t forget to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission: FTC.gov/complaint.
Michael Springmann is an attorney, author, and political commentator. He has written Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World and a second book Goodbye, Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb. Both are available on Amazon. The books’ website is: www.michaelspringmann.com