Japan Airlines lost $3.4 million when it failed to verify hoax emails and paid fees for leasing airplanes and other services into fraudulent accounts, the airline announced on Thursday.
An airline spokesman told Efe news that it received fake invoices and transferred payments toward aircraft leasing fees and cargo commissions into an unauthorized bank account in Hong Kong.
Japan Airlines leased a Boeing 777-300ER through a foreign financial firm, whose identity was stolen by unidentified criminals to demand a payment of 360 million yen as leasing fee, which the company deposited in the given account on November 29.
Another company, hired by Japan Airlines to manage its cargo division in the US, had made two payments on August 27 and September 7, worth 24 million yen, after receiving a similar email pretending to be from their logistics partner in Washington, the spokesperson said.
The airlines did not detect the fraud until it received email reminders about the payments, although the amounts were withdrawn from their account soon after the transactions, the company said.
It has asked Hong Kong authorities for help in tracing the payments but did not give more details to avoid interfering in the investigations by the Japanese police and the FBI.