WestJet is advising Canadians to avoid sharing their credit card numbers and other private information with fraudsters posing as WestJet or WestJet Vacations.
For several years, unscrupulous individuals purporting to be from WestJet and other Canadian companies have used automated dialing technology to call random telephone numbers across the country in an effort to scam unsuspecting individuals. These individuals spoof the real number they are calling from with a more familiar phone number from a local area code to increase the likelihood that the person will answer the phone.
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. The airline is not connected in any way to any of these companies.
While these types of phone scams have existed for years, Canadians now have a new option to help protect themselves. A new technology, generally referred to as “call control”, is now available from many cellular phone providers in Canada. Call control requires unknown callers to manually enter a specific number on their dial pad before the call will connect. Since auto-dialers cannot complete this step (similar to a CAPTCHA on a website), the scam calls never connect. However, humans who are calling for legitimate reasons can easily press the required number to connect their call. Canadians interested in activating this new option should contact their cell phone provider.
We completely understand how irritating and disruptive these scams continue to be and encourage those affected to report fraudulent calls to the Competition Bureau anti-fraud unit via http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04339.html. Additional information on fraud can be found online here.