Qantas airfare refund scams: Warning over phone, website scammers

Qantas has issued a warning to customers to be wary of scammers pretending to represent the airline on refunds.

In a tweet on the Qantas account, the airline stated that scammers are calling people claiming to be part of the "Qantas Refund Team" to discuss refunds.

"The callers are asking customers to provide their credit card details so that their refund for a cancelled flight can be processed," Qantas' scam assistance page states. "These calls are not from us."

"Recipients are advised not to provide personal or financial details and not to respond to these phone calls."

The airline advised that if a customer service representative contacted a passenger they would first go through a verification process to confirm the passenger's identity.

Qantas also warned that there are fake websites pretending to be the airline featuring "TOLL FREE" 1800 numbers to call to arrange flight refunds.

The airline said passengers should only use the official Qantas website, which they can log in to to manage their bookings.

Most airlines have introduced more flexible booking policies in the wake of the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 outbreak. After the most recent outbreak in Sydney and the closure of state borders to NSW residents, many passengers are currently seeking refunds. Qantas will provide a full refund or a voucher without cancellation or change fees if the flight is cancelled. Various conditions apply and can be found on the airline's website.

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Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns that some Qantas passengers were being encouraged to cancel their bookings and receive a flight credit rather than waiting for a full refund to which they were entitled.

It's not the first time Qantas customers have been targeted by scammers. A long running scam involves fake Qantas Facebook pages telling people the airline is giving away free flights and all they have to do is participate in a survey, or something similar, to receive one.

Despite this scam appearing regularly over the past decade, thousands of Australians still fall for it.

The ACCC's Scamwatch website states it has received more than 5170 scam reports related to COVID-19, with more than $6 million in reported losses from victims.

See also: Twenty things about travel we love to hate

See also: Still waiting? Why travel refunds are taking so long

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