Old Oct 17, 03, 3:18 am
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Eurozone
Programs: LH SEN, HH Gold
Posts: 2,825
for the benefit of English speakers, a loose, abbreviated translation...

"Crookedness to Get Cheap Flights"

Counterfeit tickets and other tricks: what LH's task force is doing about crooked customers.

Reimbursement of 60 000 Euros for five years of using student tariffs is being required of a long-graduation 31-year-old. It's payments like these that really payoff for LH investigator Stefan Versemann. Together with four collegues, this investigator has, for the last four years, sought out ticket fraud. Says Versemann, the airline loses triple-digit millions each year, through fraudulent tickets, improper rebookings or credit card fraud.

In many of the cases, the criminals had the help of travel agencies, who either disregard rules or even falsified passport data in the computers.

And to the detriment of LH itself, who has to invest in preventive measures: in the coming year, every Lufthansa-Ticket will, at check in, be verified as to its authenticity. Currently, LH, along with airlines such as SAS and Cathay Pacific, uses 'stickers' for rebookings. During a test in 2000, for 48 hours, LH investigators at the Frankfurt Airport tracked 30,000 flight documents, coming to the conclusion that almost half of the stickers - 47 percent - were falsified. Many travels used the sticker system to claim themselves First-Class-Customers, although they only paid for Economy.

To further reduce losses from fraud, LH has to work closer with other airlines, says Versemann. In particular, credit card fraud in Africa present particular challenges: tickets are often book telephonically with stolen credit card numbers, then picked up without proper identification, resulting in improper charges toward a third party.

A newer problem for investigators is the Internet sales of unused flight coupons to others. Those sales, in themselves, are not illegal. But, the only person who can fly is the one with his name on the ticket. Since name checks at the gates is nearly 100% now, these purchasers go on to manipulate the ticket -- and make themselves a prime case for the Task Force.

(translated from the original in German)

[This message has been edited by Grog (edited 10-17-2003).]
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