A warning has gone out to the trade over an apparent phishing scam seeking to obtain direct payments from travel companies.

The alert was raised by Traveltek president and chief executive Kenny Picken after receiving an email purporting to be from Iata claiming to be carrying out a payments audit.

It claimed to be sent by an Iata accounts/invoicing general manager warning that: “Strict compliance will be highly appreciated to avoid any form of sanctions.”

But Barry Gooch, chairman of the Prevention of Fraud in Travel alliance, warned that the email was a scam.

“Having checked with Iata the person that it purports to emanate from, Ignacio Mula Diaz, does exist at Iata but they do not have the job title or email address shown.

“My advice to any company that gets this, or any similar email, is to check with their normal contact at Iata before doing anything.

“Iata will not sanction people for double checking before making what could turn out to be a costly error.

“Companies should also be on their guard against similar emails purporting to be from other regulators and trade bodies.”