Flights, hotels, rental cars, even entire trips all for sale. Not by regular travel agents, but by criminals setting up shop offering stolen rewards points.
"So, in the deep and dark web there are these travel agencies, and they're run by these vendors who advertise that they can get you pretty much anything that you would need for vacations to anywhere in the world," said Intelligence Analyst Liv Rowley.
Rowley, who spends her day monitoring the dark web for fraud, says criminals use various software tools to nab your points.
"And, it's really important to see in the deep and dark web that this is, it's not one person who's doing it all. It's oftentimes groups of people that work together to accomplish fraud," said Rowley.
Rowley says a scammer can steal your flight miles and sell them to a criminal travel agent who then takes other stolen points for a hotel, and pulls them all together.
We were even shown a photo of someone bragging about the trip bought from stolen points.
"It's unfortunate, but it's not all that shocking given the high value of the points and miles," said Emily McNutt
People often do not know their miles are stolen until sometimes months after they are gone.
McNutt says that is one reason the bad booking agents are able to set up shop.
"People know how to keep their bank accounts secure, they know how to check their balances and make sure everything is up to date. However, unfortunately in the points and miles world, we don't always see that," said McNutt.
Here are a few tips to protect yourself:
-Use strong password hygiene, including different passwords for various accounts.
-Make sure you sign up for alerts so that if your points are redeemed, you are the first to know.
"Consumers should look at points and miles as money," said McNutt.
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