By Cailey Rizzo
September 19, 2018
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Internet thieves are stealing airline miles and selling them on the dark web, according to a study from technology and research firm Comparitech.

Using phishing scams, hackers are gaining access to airline loyalty accounts and draining them of their points. Thieves can then either sell access to the account or transfer the points directly to another account.

While the value of miles varies from airline to airline, Comparitech estimates that the typical airline point is worth about two cents. The price for miles on the dark web is far below that. Comparitech found sales of 100,000 British Airways miles for $124 and 100,000 Emirates Skywards for $520 (at current bitcoin exchange rates). Delta and British Airways were among the most commonly-found miles for sale on the dark web.

We don’t recommend buying these miles, though. Stolen airline miles are not the key to finally getting elite frequent flier status. If you get caught purchasing stolen miles, an airline could freeze your account and take away all your points, even the ones you earned legally. Airlines can also cancel any future bookings you may have with them.

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In order to protect your own miles against theft, Comparitech recommends you shred boarding passes after each flight, avoid putting your frequent flier number on your baggage tags and to not use a public Wi-Fi connection to access your airline account.

To add an extra layer of security to your accounts, use a unique password for each of your loyalty programs. Once a hacker finds one password, they can often break into multiple accounts using the same password.

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