Ex-employee uses old company's login to buy plane tickets for friend

An ex-employee of a plane ticketing agency, who recently found out he still had login access to the company's accounts, bought return tickets to Singapore for a friend.
Ti Gong

Police talk to Zhang (in the middle) at his company during the investigation.

A former plane ticketing agency employee has been detained for allegedly taking advantage of a loophole in the system to purchase plane tickets at his old company’s expense, Shanghai police said on Wednesday.

The suspect, a 26-year-old man surnamed Zhang, is facing theft charges for buying return tickets from Tianjin to Singapore worth 9,000 yuan (US$1,350) in mid-July, police said.

Zhang, who once worked as an IT engineer at the company called Jintong in Putuo District, had unlimited access to a test account which enabled him to rig the company’s account to buy plane tickets from air companies.

A plane ticketing agency which is in business relations with air companies takes orders made by passengers who have prepaid accounts with airlines.

When the suspect found out that he still had access to the account, even though he had resigned from the company, he did a favor for a friend who asked him to buy tickets for him, police said.

The company discovered the abnormal ticket order through its computer system after being alarmed by an email from the air company which informed them of a failed credit card transaction regarding some checked-in luggage.

“The payment was from the suspect’s friends who travelled on the plane tickets,” said police officer Cui of Changzheng Police Station who was in charge of the case. “Were it not for this episode, the plane ticket agency probably wouldn’t have found out about the anomaly so soon.”

The company found that there was no billing information of the two plane tickets in its computer system and called the police right away about the suspected crime.

After suspicion of hackers or any current employees was ruled out, police set their sights on Zhang, who was suspected of being an acquaintance of one of the passengers who travelled with the plane tickets illegally acquired.

Zhang has allegedly owned up.


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