Jetstar flight loyalty hack leaves customers out of pocket | #emailsecurity | #phishing | #ransomware


Marie says she booked two flights to Bali in 2019 for the following October and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she received an email from Jetstar offering her a flight credit.

But when she went to look for her flight credit a year later, Marie said Jetstar told her she’d already used it and there was nothing the airline could do.

“They were trying to tell me my computer was hacked, that I’d given my password out to somebody, and they were even saying, ‘Did you print your voucher out and leave it somewhere?'” Marie told A Current Affair.

Jetstar customer Marie. (A Current Affair)

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“It wasn’t until 12 months later, when I knew the voucher was coming up to expiry, and there was 20 cents left on my voucher.

“The voucher should’ve been for $1155.20.”

And Marie’s not alone.

Jetstar. (A Current Affair)

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Some other Jetstar customers also contacted A Current Affair for help, including Pamela, who is a pensioner.

“I booked a holiday for my partner and I to go to Bali. Unfortunately, he got sick an hour before we were to leave and I had to rush him to the emergency,” Pamela said.

Pamela said Jetstar agreed to give her a credit voucher for $2219.66.

A number of Jetstar customers contacted A Current Affair. (A Current Affair)

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Pamela said 12 months later, she wanted to take her nephew to Tasmania on holiday.

“The (Jetstar staffer) on the other side said that my voucher had ‘been redeemed’. I said, ‘Well, that’s crazy, I haven’t been anywhere,'” Pamela recalled.

Pamela thought she’d been hacked and she quickly did something about it, having the issue investigated by a specialist.

“It cost me thousands actually. I don’t have much, but I was so concerned because my computer is my lifeline – I’m 90 per cent deaf,” she said.

Pamela said she’s still out of pocket almost $2220.

Dave said he’s also been left out of pocket for a flight credit he never got to use, which was around “$300 to $400 for two vouchers”.

Pamela thought she’d been hacked. (A Current Affair)

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“Put the vouchers in and it said there was only about $28 left on one voucher and a little bit on the other,” Dave said.

He said someone else had booked flights from Sydney to Ballina and back, using his name and others, but out of good will, Jetstar did give Dave a refund.

Cyber security expert Nick Savvides said something like this can happen within any loyalty program and he urges the Federal Government and regulators to look at the issue.

“In Australia, we don’t require identification to be presented before you board a flight,” Mr Savvides said.

“What’s likely happened in this case is the victim’s frequent flyer or booking reference has been hacked and the hacker has then on-sold their flight credit or voucher to somebody else.

Cyber security expert Nick Savvides. (A Current Affair)

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“It is a syndicate, it is organised, it’s more than one person, typically a group of people who are doing this in a coordinated fashion.”

Jetstar told A Current Affair it’s been working with NSW Police in relation to a fraud matter and an individual has been charged.

“Our cyber security team has conducted a detailed investigation into the security of our systems and confirmed there are no systemic issues,” it added.

“The fraud matter is isolated to the activity of the individual, who is not connected to Jetstar.”

Disgruntled customer John said it’s not good enough.

Tech expert Trevor Long. (A Current Affair)

“They said the matter had been dealt with and they would no longer discuss it with me,” John said.

Tech expert Trevor Long said customers are entitled to their vouchers or their money back “unless Jetstar can prove they used it”.

Mr Long also has some advice for other customers.

“Protecting your accounts with strong passwords, second factor authentication, using your mobile phone, actually locking down your accounts – especially your email – is the most important thing you can do,” he said.

And it might have taken two years but Jetstar has finally re-issued Marie’s voucher for $1155.20.

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