195 INDIVIDUALS DETAINED AS A RESULT OF GLOBAL CRACKDOWN ON AIRLINE TICKET FRAUD
Travel Feb 29, 2020
195 individuals suspected of traveling with airline tickets bought using stolen, compromised or fake credit card details have been detained in a major international law enforcement operation targeting airline fraudsters.
Between 16 and 20 October 2017, 61 countries, 63 airlines and 6 online travel agencies were involved in the 10th edition of the Global Airport Action Days (GAAD) which took place at over 226 airports across the world.
During the action week, 298 suspicious transactions were reported. As a result, 195 people were detained, denied boarding, questioned by police and charged criminally. Investigations are ongoing. Several people were caught trying to traffic drugs from Latin America to Europe, frequently flying back and forth using fraudulently purchased tickets.
This edition of the GAAD welcomed on board a number of new airlines partners, with 6 new major airline carriers joining the initiative as it continues to gain traction globally:
4 from the Asia Pacific
A GLOBAL PUBLIC-PRIVATE RESPONSE
The GAAD was organised through coordination centres at Europol in The Hague, INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore and Ameripol in Bogota, and was supported by Canadian as well as US law enforcement authorities through the NCFTA in Pittsburgh.
Eurojust assisted throughout the action week, together with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) which deployed officers to 20 airports, assisting in the detection of identity fraud, fake documents and irregular migration. The Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP), implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization (WCO), also took part in law enforcement activities at airports in Africa and the Middle East.
Representatives from airlines, online travel agencies, payment card companies, Perseuss and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) worked together with experts from Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) to identify suspicious transactions and provide confirmation to law enforcement officers deployed in the airports.
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An airline ticket is a document or electronic record, issued by an airline or a travel agency, that confirms that an individual is entitled to a seat on a flight on an aircraft.
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Europol’s Executive Director, Rob Wainwright said: “Airline ticket fraud poses a range of security issues, and we cannot allow anyone, in particular serious criminals and terrorists, to travel around the world anonymously and to endanger others. This is why Europol, together with its private partners, needs to further extend these global initiatives, allowing for police and the private sector to share information about suspicious online activities to make life as hard as possible for criminals.”
The Director for Organized and Emerging Crime at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters, Paul Stanfield, stated: “Fraudulent online transactions are highly profitable for organized crime, and are often tied to other activities which include cybercrime, illegal immigration, human trafficking and terrorism. Global Airport Action Days is therefore an important cross-sector collaborative operation against the transnational organized criminal networks behind fraudulent airline ticket purchases and other criminal activities.”