Frequent flyer miles and travel rewards are worth money and just like money can be stolen. Protect your frequent flyer miles from hackers and theft from out of your account or wallet. Most of us just let them accumulate in our frequent flyer or mileage rewards accounts without much thought until it’s time for a flight upgrade, vacation, or redemption for merchandise. Thieves think of loyalty points or frequent flier miles as currency and that is why they target mileage and loyalty accounts for theft because they are valuable. According to Comparitech, hackers have now started infiltrating frequent flyer accounts and are selling stolen reward miles on the dark web.
How Thieves Steal Frequent Flyer Points
Thieves just need access to your account to book flights or hotels with your points or to transfer the points out for cash, gift cards, or merchandise. So how do they get access to your online accounts? The answer is by phishing scams and password theft. Once they have your login credentials they are in your account and your valuable points are at risk. Your personal data is becoming increasingly easy for thieves to steal via data breaches as data breaches are occurring multiple times a day each and every day.
What Hackers Do with Stolen Frequent Flyer Miles
Your frequent flyer miles can actually be sold on the dark web for money. The dark web is a network of black market sites for the selling of personal data including various account information details, credit card numbers, and social security numbers. Typically, redeemed frequent flyer points are valued at one to two cents per point or mile. Consider that an account holding 100,000 miles is then worth between $1000 and $2000. Miles from popular airlines like Delta, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were listed for sale from $1,000. For 100,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, one dark web seller was asking for $884. Another listing offered 45,000 Delta SkyMiles for $884. So you can see frequent flyer miles are valuable to thieves and hackers. The purchaser can possibly transfer the miles to their account and they can definitely buy many different types of gift cards, which of course, can’t be traced.
How to Protect Your Miles From Hackers and Theft
Follow these actions to mitigate the risk of having your frequent flyer accounts hacked.
- Check your account balances regularly so you know how many points you have. Once a month is a good rule of thumb. if you notice any changes not authorized by you report them.
- Rip up or shred boarding passes immediately after your flight as they can have your account number plus your name printed on them.
- Use a strong and complex username and password, remember you’re guarding valuable points.
- If your login suddenly doesn’t work, contact the airline or credit card points, program administrator.
- Set up email auto alerts that are sent went points are withdrawn. Look under the “settings” tab to set up auto alerts or contact the site customer service team for advice on how to do so.
- Use a points manager program where you consolidate and track all your points and miles. A good one is Awardwallet.com as they will notify you of any withdrawals.
- Don’t use free public WiFi to access your frequent flier account.
- Don’t put your frequent flier account number on your bag tag.