Travel agency owner arrested for stealing mileage points of flyers of British Airways
New Delhi: The Delhi Police Crime Branch has busted a racket and arrested the owner of a travel agency involved in stealing the mileage points (Avios) from the flyers of the British Airways and redeeming them to get tickets from British Airways and other international airlines besides obtaining free stays across the globe.
Avios are global travel reward points that allow you to turn your everyday spending into flights, hotel stays, upgrades, days out and more. One can collect Avios through the Avios Travel Reward Programme at Tesco, Shell, Avis, British Airways, Lloyd’s Bank, and over 350 other partners across the world.
One Damanpreet Singh Bedi (34), who was running Kripa Travels, a travel agency at Jhandewalan here, has been arrested.
A complaint was received by the Police alleging that there is a major misappropriation of the mileage points of the flyers of British Airways. These Avios/mileagepoints are awarded to the flyers with each ticket and these can be redeemed by flyers/members for obtaining tickets, hotel bookings and forgetting cab facilities. These mileage points can also be traded for tickets with different airlines. The payment to the other airlines is then made by British Airways against the Avios points used for booking of tickets. The data of such flyers/members as well as the mileage points earned by such members is maintained by British Airways. In the year 2015, it was revealed that mileage points of some of the flyers/members were redeemed illegally by unauthorized agencies in favour of other passengers, who were not entitled to use them.
On enquiry, once the facts were verified, a case (FIR No.123/15 dated 16.08.2015 under secions 420/464/467/471/120B IPC & 43A/43B/43H/66/72IT Act) was registered by the Crime Branch. A team led by DCP Bhisham Singh and comprising of ACP KPS Malhotra, Insp. Vijay Kumar Rastogi, SIs Vijay Samaria, Neeraj Kumar, HCs Niranjan, Surender, Kanwarpal, Cts Raj Kumar, Amit, Brijesh, Anoop,Ranjeet, Vikram and Dhanraj was constituted under the supervision of Addl. Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar and it zeroed upon Kripa Travels.
During the course of investigation, it was revealed that the unauthorized access to the database of M/s Amadeus and creation of the fake executive accounts was being carried out from a particular IP addresses. M/s Amadeus provides IT enabled service for the global travel and tourism industry. It also provides search, pricing, booking, ticketing and other processing services in real-time to travel providers and travel agencies. Through its IT Solutions business area, it also offers travel companies software systems which automate processes such as reservations, inventory management and departure control.
British Airways provided the details of the IP addresses that were used for unauthorized extraction of the Avios points. When investigation was carried out in this direction, it was revealed that all the activities pertaining to these IP addrsses were being carried out from Jhandewalan Area. On the basis of information colelcted, Kripa Travels was identified. After verifying the facts, a raid was conducted at Kripa Travels, Anarkali Complex, Jhandewalan in the national capital and the accused Damanpreet Singh Bedi was apprehended. Damanpreet disclosed that he was running Kripa Travels and was also a booking agent for Amadeus. He used to access the database of tickets booked by other agents and steal the data. Thereafter, he used to open fake executive club accounts using the ticket details and redeem the Avios points by booking new tickets. By using the stolen details like PNR number, passenger’s name and other details, he used to create a fake executive club account at ba.com (British Airways website) in the name of the passenger to access the Avios points. In this way, he accumulated the Avios points of various passengers. Thereafter, he used to purchase tickets by redeeming the collected points and was selling the tickets to his selected clientele.
Damanpreet Singh Bedi (34), son of Manjeet Singh Bedi, resident of Teliwara, Shahdara, New Delhi has studied upto 12th standard and runs the travel agency – Kripa Travels at Anarkali Complex at Jhandewalan here. He began working with a travel agency and after gaining knowledge regarding the ticketing business started his own travel agency. He also became the booking agent of Amadeus and found ways to exploit the loopholes in the system.
The Police have seized a computer hard disk and a router, both used for stealing data, besides 28 passports and a number of Amrica Express credit cards