New TSA PreCheck scam hits travelers this year. Here’s how to avoid it

Image source: Getty Images

Once an obscure program, TSA PreCheck gained a lot of popularity due to its travel rewards credit cards offering credits for enrollment. Unfortunately, this popularity has a downside: scammers.

Just in time for vacation travel, scammers have begun targeting travelers with fraudulent emails and fraudulent websites aimed at renewing TSA PreCheck. The goal is to get the renewal fee And the Your personal information for potential future fraud.

We spoke to former FBI analyst Crane Hasold, who now serves as director of threat intelligence at Abnormal Security, to get more information about how to spot these scams and what to do if you find yourself the target of one.

Detecting TSA PreCheck scams can be difficult

Perhaps the most disturbing part about the new scams is that they are very detailed. Hasold says the scammers took a lot of time and effort to deliver accurate fakes that closely mimic TSA’s original emails and websites. This can make it difficult to know if you have a legitimate website or a fraudulent one.

“Unlike other scams we see every day, these fraudulent TSA PreCheck emails are actually quite sophisticated,” Hasold said. “The normal red flags we ask people to look out for don’t really exist.”

On the plus side, Hasold says there are still things you can look for to decide if you’re dealing with scammer bait. The most obvious one will be the sender’s email address. You should also watch out for payment requests that appear to be broken.

“Actual emails from the TSA will be sent from a government email address, while these fraudulent emails will be sent from a .com address,” Hasold said. “Official payments to government services in general can also be made using a variety of methods, but the only ‘application fee’ payment method required in the scam is PayPal.”

Since the TSA is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you may also receive emails or notifications from DHS. These should also contain a .gov address.

Given how difficult it can be to distinguish a fraudulent email from a legitimate email, the best advice is to avoid using email links to access your account. Instead, use a trusted search engine to go directly to the TSA or DHS website.

As with TSA email addresses, the official website will have a .gov domain, rather than .com or .org. You should also look for the lock icon near the website bar in your browser to ensure that you are on a secure website.

Once you click on the Apply or Renew links on the TSA website, you are taken to the Global Registration page. This is part of the DHS website and should contain the DHS.gov domain.

Report account fraud to the police and the Federal Trade Commission

Despite your best efforts, you may end up a victim of one of these complex scams. When asked what to do if you suspect a scam, Hasold agrees with advice from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that you should follow these steps:

  1. Report the fraud to your local police department
  2. Submit a report to the Federal Trade Commission website (ReportFraud.ftc.gov)
  3. Alert your credit card issuer or bank about fraudulent charges

This last step is especially important if you want your money back. The TSA website specifically says that TSA is not responsible for reimbursing anyone who attempts to register or renew a TSA PreCheck account through a fraudulent website.

Scammers may get smarter, but there are still things we can do to thwart their efforts. With a little extra vigilance, you can avoid falling victim to fraud this holiday season.

Highest interest-free credit card until 2023

If you have credit card debt, converting it to this top balance transfer card guarantees you 0% Advance APR until 2023! In addition, you will not pay any annual fees. These are just some of the reasons why our experts rank this card as the best choice to help control your debt. Read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Read our free review

We firmly believe in the golden rule, which is why editorial opinions are our own and have not been previously reviewed, approved or endorsed by our covered advertisers. Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. The Ascent editorial content is separate from the Motley Fool’s editorial content and is generated by a different team of analysts. Britney Myers has no position in any of the mentioned stocks. He owns the Motley Fool and recommends PayPal Holdings. Motley Fool recommends the following options: Long January 2022 calls worth $75 on PayPal Holdings. Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The opinions and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Nasdaq, Inc.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: