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Safeguarding airlines against fraudulent chargebacks

Author: Courtney Schwartzenburg


Chargebacks are a significant challenge for businesses across various industries, especially airline and travel. Not only does this lead to financial losses, it also disrupts operations and can tarnish a company's reputation. One of the most pressing concerns is the rise of fraudulent chargebacks, where corrupt individuals exploit vulnerabilities in the system to deceive businesses and financial institutions.  

Chargebacks in the airline industry and their impact on revenue 

Chargebacks have been a growing issue in the airline industry, with 50% more chargebacks in 2022 than in 2019 according to

Even more concerning is the number of fraudulent chargebacks occurring; it’s predicted that “friendly fraud” committed by legitimate customers will account for as much as two-thirds of all chargebacks by 2023. Imagine: a passenger books a ticket, takes the flight, but later disputes the charge with their bank, initiating a chargeback. Often, it’s hard for airlines to prove the customer took the flight due to disjointed data, and the airline loses revenue having to refund the passenger. Since the burden of proof is on the airline to win back their lost funds, they must have immaculate records to prove the charge was legitimately authorized, and the services ultimately delivered. 

Customers may also use chargebacks when their services don’t go as promised. If they try to get compensation through the airline but are quickly fed up with the customer service (or lack thereof) they may initiate a chargeback to recoup their losses. Or they may jump straight to the chargeback without contacting the airline at all.  

Legitimate chargebacks are also initiated when a customer sees a fraudulent purchase. Phishing scams can trick people into willingly giving out their credit card information. Stolen credit card information and identity theft can all result in the same scenario: a ticket is purchased, the flight is taken, but a chargeback is claimed because a fraudster took a free vacation. Getting customer information is easier than you think. Customers can follow all the suggestions of safe internet practices, but a data breach from their favorite store’s website can leak their most important personal and financial information. The risk is a lot higher than one may realize. According to, 30,000 websites are hacked every day globally. It’s not a question of if personal information is out there, it’s where. It can happen in person as well; someone may go to fill up their car and not realize there’s a card skimmer in the gas pump. A thief now has the card information and can use it or sell it at will. 

According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines lose more than $1 billion each year due to credit card fraud. To add insult to injury, “for each dollar lost to fraud, merchants incur an additional $3.75 in losses due to chargeback fees, squandered overhead, needless administrative costs, and unpaid bookings” as reported by The airline industry must do something. 

Eliminate fraudulent chargebacks with Celebrus

To eliminate fraud, airlines must be able to capture all the data. Celebrus is constantly and quietly observing and recording every interaction a consumer has with an airline's website — both when they’re anonymous and known. From the moment they land on the homepage to the final click confirming their booking, and everything in between, Celebrus is there. It diligently keeps track in real time and provides the airline and bank with the evidence they need to confirm the transaction is legitimate. How do they do that? 

Detecting criminal fraud 

Celebrus excels at pattern recognition using advanced technology to record behavioral biometrics. It sifts through the data and pinpoints any irregularities or unusual behavior that could signal potential fraud. By analyzing transaction data, including purchase history, flight routes, and payment details, pattern recognition systems can identify unusual patterns and flag potentially fraudulent activities. This means even the trickiest attempts won't go unnoticed. 

Using adaptive learning, Celebrus is constantly refining its detection capabilities. As it encounters new patterns and behaviors, it becomes even more adept at flagging potentially fraudulent activities. Behavioral biometrics can quickly analyze vast amounts of behavioral data and employ machine learning algorithms to detect subtle patterns associated with fraudulent activity. Over time, the system becomes even better and more accurate at identifying fraud. 

Predicting friendly fraud due to customer dissatisfaction 

Having the ability to analyze customer behavior is key to combating fraudulent chargebacks and winning chargeback disputes. Using advanced pattern recognition, airlines can pinpoint recurring issues that lead to chargebacks, like overbooked flights, cancellations, and poor customer service. Celebrus also gives the capability to analyze historical transaction and interaction data, recording the customer’s every behavior and services provided. Being able to analyze consumer behavior delivers insight to help you to stop issues before they arise. 

Proving friendly fraud   

Celebrus provides a unique feature — Celebrus ID Graph — which allows you to backtrack and see exactly when and where a customer was on your site, with a full record of their behaviors and interactions. This invaluable tool helps prove customer intent, a game-changer in chargeback deflection. 

With a complete ID Graph, you can clearly prove when intentional fraud has occurred. If you can show the customer already made a purchase from your website, that they checked for similar flights, or they frequently visit the website, that’s enough to prove it was indeed them who made the purchase and not someone else. Celebrus ID Graph records every interaction across devices, channels, domains, and time — even when the customer isn’t logged in. This comprehensive identity resolution is the evidence airlines need to strengthen their position during the chargeback resolution process. 

Celebrus real-time monitoring, pattern recognition, and identity verification capabilities make it a formidable force against fraudulent activities. Celebrus provides clear, data-backed insights into the legitimacy of chargeback claims. This means airlines can make informed decisions and allocate resources where they're truly needed. 

Implementing Celebrus in airlines 

Celebrus is designed for easy integration into existing systems. With a single line of code, you can be up and running, feeding comprehensive data and identity into your fraud management systems almost immediately. Its seamless compatibility ensures a smooth transition, enhancing fraud prevention without disrupting your current operations.  

Celebrus doesn't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, it’s customizable to its core. Airlines can tailor a system, service, or user experience to individual user preferences. Imagine being able to customize your interfaces, settings, and experiences based on your department’s needs and preferences! It’s the perfect balance between security and user-friendliness.   

In the battle against fraudulent chargebacks, airlines need a reliable ally. Celebrus emerges as the best layered defense in this fight, offering real-time monitoring, behavioral biometrics, pattern recognition, and adaptive learning. With Celebrus, airlines can not only detect potential fraud but also prove their case with concrete data. Say goodbye to revenue leaks and operational headaches. With Celebrus you can soar to new heights with confidence! 


Prevent fraud by tackling identity verification!

Digital fraud, both human and automated, has increased dramatically in terms of volume and complexity. Staying ahead of threats and preventing fraud before it happens starts with identity verification. 


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