Criminals have recently taken to buying air tickets online using stolen credit card numbers in order to resell them.
But would-be travelers duped into buying the tickets are then not allowed to fly by the airlines.
Credit cards are still a new service in Vietnam and it's probably a reason why Viet kieu (overseas Vietnamese) criminal gangs want to exploit it.
There are now many airlines selling tickets online, including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Cathay Pacific, but customers must have a credit card to buy over the Internet.
After online purchases are completed, card holders will receive a payment request from their banks about a month later.
The delay in payment is the key element to this kind of crime.
After stealing credit card numbers, the criminals will use them to buy tickets online. In order to make it easier, they often choose to buy tickets from new and inexperienced ticket agencies that are not authorized by airlines. They will then offer ticket agencies their tickets at lower prices. Exchanges are mainly done via the Internet.
Tickets purchased by stolen credit card numbers will be delivered to the agencies and then sold to local customers at around 20 percent lower than official prices. Both ticket agencies and passengers can be easily cheated as they think it's a good bargain.
Moreover, the criminals are able to offer tickets even during high season as they are "willing" to buy business class tickets and then sell them at economy class prices.
The criminals often used stolen credit card numbers to buy tickets only a few days before the flight to make sure card holders have not received their credit statement. But sooner or later card holders will know and refuse to pay for the tickets.
Hopefully this letter will help passengers know about the crime and avoid being cheated.