American Airlines Email Scam Targets Columbia Residents

2 years 11 months 5 days ago July 26, 2013 Jul 26, 2013 Friday, July 26 2013 Friday, July 26, 2013 12:56:00 PM CDT in News
By: Sam Hustis, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - You may not know Irina Kravchenko or Lidiya Semyonov , but you might be recieving an email from American Airlines saying you bought plane tickets for them.

This is what happened to Mark Johnson, a Student Media Coordinator at Mizzou, who was targeted in an email phishing scam. He recently recieved an email from an unknown source pretending to be American Airlines saying that he had bought two round trip tickets from Columbia to Dallas and then Las Vegas. The price? $1932.75 dollars.

"This was probably the most perfect scam I'd seen," Johnson said. "They definately copied everything almost exactly to a tee that you would see in a normal American Airlines email itinerary."

The email included false links to hotel booking sites, car rental services, even a long and detailed terms and conditions section that gave information about baggage charges. 

"It was almost to the point where, had this been legitimate, they're doing a service. They could be an airline company, they've got everything that the client would need," Johnson said.

"Don't trust unsolicited emails, even if they do appear to come from legitimate companies," said Mike Harrison, the Mid-Missouri Regional Director of the Better Buisness Bureau. "If folks have any questions about that, they can contact that company or that agency directly."

Harrison said there are several other ways that one can help protect themselves from email scams. When reading an email that you are unsure of the sender, do not open any attachments or click on any links in the body of the email. These can potentially lead to your computer getting a virus or some sort of malware, a term short for malicious software.

One way to check a link without clicking on it is to hover your mouse over it. On the bottom left of your computer screen the URL of where the link will send you will appears. For example: if you hover your mouse over THIS link, you should see the URL http://www.google.com/ appear. Obviously, Google is a site you can trust, and therefore can feel safe clicking the link. Many times scam emails will send you to a long, complicated URL with numbers and letters that do not make sense.

"You want to delete those suspicious emails," Harrison said. "Not only from your inbox, but you also want to delete that from your spam folder or trash folder."

Latisha Stroer, a member of the Columbia Police Department said many times scam emails will use a false sense of urgency to trick people into giving out personal information.

"That's what we see a lot of the times. 'You need to send money now, if you're going to buy this product it needs to be now.' If it's a legitimate buisness, they're going to let you make that decision on your own," Stroer said.

Many email scams hinge on tricking people into giving out personal information, and keeping that information private is the most important thing you can do.

"Don't give out a Social Security number, don't give out credit card information, don't give out bank account information, don't give out any personal information whether it's by email or over the phone," said Harrison. "You don't want to give that information out."

Johnson, who said he considers himself familiar with computers, was able to tell that the email was a scam but said he would be worried if someone not as tech-savvy as himself recieved it.

"If that scam came to somebody who didn't know what scams look like, or was expecting the scam to be the Nigerian prince, you know asking for money, it could easily get many people into a lot of trouble," Johnson said.

More News

Grid
List
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — General Mills is expanding its recall of certain types of flour in response to an ongoing outbreak... More >>
1 minute ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 3:46:30 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – One of the biggest weekends for holiday travel is approaching and the Missouri Department of Transportation says... More >>
42 minutes ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 3:06:00 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A 47-year-old Springfield man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison without parole for possessing... More >>
1 hour ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 2:36:24 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is expanding where beer growlers can be sold but is trying to... More >>
1 hour ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 2:19:57 PM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A 16-year-old suspect in the shooting death of a St. Louis County toddler will be tried as... More >>
1 hour ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 2:12:33 PM CDT in News
HALLSVILLE – A 50-year-old woman that went missing on Wednesday has returned home safely. Cheryl L. Nelson was the... More >>
2 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 1:29:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police are searching for two men in a red Ford Mustang following a fatal shooting... More >>
2 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 1:03:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri has agreed to pay the federal government $2.2 million to settle a claim that... More >>
3 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 12:16:08 PM CDT in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY — A civil lawsuit can proceed against a suspended Missouri State Highway Patrol officer who was transporting a... More >>
3 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 11:49:00 AM CDT in News
FERGUSON — A suspect is being sought after a man was stabbed to death outside a home in the St.... More >>
4 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 11:27:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City police and the parents of a girl killed by a stray bullet are warning... More >>
5 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 9:55:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA- At 1:35 a.m., the Columbia Fire Department responded to a residential fire at 1303 Torrey Pines Drive, near West... More >>
6 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 9:15:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
WINDSOR — A 44-year-old man has been charged in a deadly shooting in Missouri. Jeffrey Dean Watring was... More >>
7 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 8:48:00 AM CDT in News
SEDALIA — Two people have been charged with a felony in a fatal fire in Sedalia. The Sedalia... More >>
7 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 8:14:00 AM CDT in News
KINLOCH — A St. Louis TV reporter faces charges in the town of Kinloch after being handcuffed and shackled following... More >>
7 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 8:11:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS — Two brothers are facing charges for a shooting in St. Louis that left one person dead and... More >>
8 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 7:35:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis city marshal is jailed for allegedly threatening a mass shooting. A charge... More >>
8 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 7:31:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A new mural will be going up along the MKT trail in Columbia in July. The Career... More >>
8 hours ago July 01, 2016 Jul 1, 2016 Friday, July 01 2016 Friday, July 01, 2016 7:06:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 79°
4pm 80°
5pm 81°
6pm 81°
7pm 80°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:00p
The Dr. Oz Show
4:00p
Dr. Phil
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
3:00p
The Bill Cunningham Show
4:00p
King of the Hill
4:30p
The Cleveland Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
8:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Masters of Illusion
7:30p
Masters of Illusion
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld