New hacker focus: Your airline miles and rewards points

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Just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse with hackers targeting your credit cards, financial information, passwords and personal web accounts, it just got worse. 

Hackers also want your frequent flier miles and rewards points. 

British consumer researcher Comparitech reports there are dozens of “dark marketplaces” online where flier miles and points are going for $1,000 or more, depending on the quantity and quality. 

“On Dream Market, one of the largest black markets on the dark web, a single vendor sells reward points from over a dozen different airline reward programs, including Emirates Skywards, SkyMiles, and Asia Miles,” Comparitech reports. “Going by the handle @UpInTheAir, they sell a minimum of 100,000 points for the reward program of your choice, starting out at $884 as of time of writing (this was probably $1,000 originally, but Bitcoin price fluctuations caused it to go down).” 

Here’s the thing – the stolen airline miles aren’t used on actual airfare – instead, they are used at places that allow the holder to redeem the points at local retail stores, usually through gift cards. 

Some tips to protect your rewards and airliner miles accounts from hackers: 

  • Shred your boarding pass after a flight 

  • Don’t post photos of your boarding pass online 

  • Use strong passwords for your frequent flier accounts 

  • Monitor your account for suspicious activity 

  • Avoid using public wifi to access your account 

You can read more about how this black market operates here

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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