WestJet today issued another warning to Canadians to avoid sharing their credit card numbers and other private information with fraudsters posing as WestJet or WestJet Vacations.

“This phone scam and other, similar versions continue to be a source of great frustration for our guests as well as for us,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President, Communications and Community Relations. “We would like to reassure Canadians once again that we are not making these annoying calls, and we apologize for the inconvenience. We urge anyone who receives one of these calls to hang up immediately and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.”

For several years, con artists purporting to be from WestJet and other prominent Canadian companies have called random telephone numbers across the country in an effort to obtain credit card information. They say they require a credit card number to cover fees associated with claiming the prize. Once they have a number, they use it to make fraudulent purchases.

WestJet does not use telemarketers or make telemarketing phone calls, nor does it share guests’ private information with third parties for the purposes of telemarketing.

A second, less-common scam currently circulating involves fake electronic tickets with long numerical sequences purportedly issued by WestJet. In fact, WestJet itineraries are identified by six letters only and contain relevant information about fares, taxes and fees, baggage allowances, seat selection, inflight entertainment and airline partnerships.

The federal Competition Bureau has declared March Fraud Prevention Month, an annual public awareness campaign designed to prevent Canadian from becoming victims of fraud. For resources and more information, please visit www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/home.

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  • In The Woods

    Not so random On-line booked with westjet Tuesday for the first time in a year or so. Business class to Montreal ,,, 12 hours later I get a overseas call “dear valued westjet customer”. Somebody has access to their data stream.

  • Zeb Miller

    I agree with “In The Woods”. I travelled with West Jet and then about two weeks later my son, who has the same name as I do, starts getting automated calls on his cell phone about winning some prize from West Jet. Not a coincidence. Some one is accessing their data for sure.

  • Zeb Miller

    This happened to me as well. My son who has the same name as me started getting the calls. I don’t know if you can answer me on here but was any of your luggage lost and then returned?

  • Callista Lemay

    I get a call at least once a month, at my current job and my old job. For the past 2 years probably.

  • Callista Lemay

    And your link to report online does not work.

  • J Hunt

    Not random at all. I flew last night with Westjet and got a call this morning. I would like Westjet to investigate/explain how the fraudsters get their information.

  • Sarah

    I just got a call at work stating I have been eligible to receive a $999 travel voucher for free if you press 1 – pressed 1 – someone overseas answered and asked me 2 questions – Am I over 30 years of age and do I have a valid credit card – Once you answer yes to both of those questions they then send you through to some “Global Travel Company” I hung up the phone. My husband got that same call about a month prior.

  • Elizabeth Lecoupe

    I agree with you. Its not random because I received a call after returing from vacation and they asked for me specifically.

  • adimma

    First time I get this call is a few days after flying with Westjet. This strongly suggests that this is a problem with Westjet sharing my information.

  • Health & Wellness

    The plot thickens, I keep getting these calls but I have never flown with West jet! Haven’t flown for 16 years

  • Angry Man

    I have never flown with WestJet an I get calls almost everyday with $999 voucher. When i tell them to stop calling me, they never reply back with “okay” or “sorry”, they just hang up..and next day, you get call again. I tried calling the number (416-742-6254) back, but i guess they have their auto voice thing saying “The Number you have reached is not in service”. I dont think the regular telephone provider’s automated message for “Not-In-Service” numbers sounds the same. Also according to CRTC, telemarketers have to use registered number….so these people are breaking the legal rules as well.

  • Wesley Adetunji

    Yes! That’s exactly what happened to me. Westjet flight, misplaced luggage , repeated calls from Westjet vacations. I think we’ve uncovered a clue….

  • Steve Buckee Kane

    I keep getting called on my cell phone. They sat they are Westjet, and want to give me $900 plus off my next flight, and then ask me if I have a credit card. I almost fell for it, because our finances aren’t too good right now, and we would love to visit our daughter in Calgary. The phone numbers have a 250 area code attached, which makes me think they are OK, since I live on Vancouver Island, and that is our area code.

  • Steve Buckee Kane

    I’ve been getting that same call too, on my cell phone.

  • Steve Buckee Kane

    Sounds to me like westjet’s accounts are being hacked.

  • In The Woods

    Strange. For me it was 41 6. At the start of it,, which also lead me to believe it was local,,, but their was a space after the 1 as I wrote above. (I’m in toronto)

  • http://blog.westjet.com/ Greg Hounslow

    They seem to use number-cloaking technology to display a phone number that is from the same area code as yours, and in most cases, the second three digits will be the exact same as your own phone number too.

  • http://blog.westjet.com/ Greg Hounslow

    They most certainly are breaking all the rules. We have been investigating them for quite some time and continue to work with the local authorities in the country where they are located to get them shut down.

  • http://blog.westjet.com/ Greg Hounslow

    We have done a thorough investigation into our own data security and are confident that your personal information is safe and has not been compromised. We would not willingly share your information with an organization like the one that is perpetrating this scam.

  • http://blog.westjet.com/ Greg Hounslow

    Through our investigation, we’ve determined that they do two things. First, they use an auto-dialer to dial numerous, random (but sequential) numbers at the same time. They also use a number-cloaker to display a call display number that is from the same area code as the one you’re in. They then play the robo-voice recording indicating that you’ve been selected by XYZ company (WestJet is not the only name being used) to receive a free vacation and cruise.

    Once you press one, you go through a series of 5 different people who seek to get your credit card information, and go so far as to ask you to send a scan of your own passport to them. We know this much because our Communications team has also received calls on our own desk and cell phones, and have managed to keep them on the line for almost an hour whenever they do call.

    One thing that we are certain of is that our guests’ information has not been compromised. Though there are a number of people who have received one of these calls after flying with us, it is merely a coincidence. With up to 50,000 people flying with us every day, there are bound to be some who receive the scam call soon after their trip. Rest assured that your phone number(s) and other personal data is safe.

  • http://blog.westjet.com/ Greg Hounslow

    Elizabeth, do you get an anti-spyware message when you click the anti-fraud centre link in this blog post? If so, do you get the same warning when you access the link through the RCMP’s website (http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/tf-ft-eng.htm – look for the link about 2/3 of the way down the page)? Please let me know.

  • Da King

    I never use to get phone calls until I flew WestJet a few months ago. Now every month I receive several calls and each says I won something from WestJet. It can’t be random that they happened to select the same company I used right after I used them. I agree with others in saying there’s a breach of data happening at WestJet.

  • Frank

    More updates. I am new to this but some 416 number called me everyday this week. I sent a nasty text to the caller to realize it wasn’t them. This persons phone was stolen and several outbound calls made using this number.

  • Heather

    Well darn, I really wanted the $999 travel voucher. Luckily I’m not an idiot and don’t give my credit card info out at random…

  • Hacked

    I have received 2 emails in the past week which I believe are fake. They want me to take a survey on Westjet Rewards and offer a chance to win $500 westjet dollars. How did they get my email address and know that I was a Westjet Rewards member unless they hacked the Westjet system? This is not random. I forwarded the second one to the rcmp link provided on the westjet site.

  • http://blog.westjet.com/ Greg Hounslow

    Could you forward a copy of the email to us at blog@westjet.com too? We’d like to take a look at it to confirm if it is real or another scam. Our Market Research team does send these types of emails to guests occasionally. Thanks.

  • Alfred K

    What’s worse now is they are spoofing caller ID numbers. Why doesn’t the CRTC make it illegal to spoof Caller ID?