This type of email is called "phishing" because the intent is to try and get you to click on the link in the email, log in with your personal information on some site, and then they get your log in to use themselves and do all kinds of damage, in this case probably book flights online for themselves with your valid credit card information.
This phishing emails are tough! They look so real. The most common ones look like they are coming from a bank and that your account has been temporarily frozen and you need to log in to confirm your identity. Yikes! In the below scam email, Qatar Airways *is* actually at the url of qatarairways.com. And the booking and cancelling urls look logical. But they are not. If you open a brand new browser window and manually type in qatarairways.com and look at what their real booking url is, its different. No https at the beginning and no booking.qatarairways.com urls. But the fake urls look real and look logical so they will catch some people unaware. And notice the "From" email. If you are not paying attention, it won't stick out but it is not from qatarairways.com.
Of course, phishing emails rely on trying to trick only a population of people who are either currently or have recently used that service. If you've never dealt with Qatar Airways, you will be suspicious - but hopefully not unaware enough to click on the link in the email to check it out - the scammers are counting on that as well.
How do you avoid these phishing emails? When it comes to logging into a site and or "confirming" or "cancelling" personal information - never never never never (one more time!) never do this by clicking on a link in an email. Period. And DO NOT manually type the SAME url from the email into a new browser. You'll land on the same falsified website that probably looks just like the real one. Google the company or site and go to the site manually from a google search (or whatever search engine you use). Or look up their phone number and do really important things via the phone.
From: "Qatar Airways"
Date: August 29, 2010 6:51:43 AM PDT
Subject: Booking confirmation email
Thanks for the purchase!
Your booking is confirmed.
Booking number: K4QCTI
Your credit card has been charged for $438.60 (USD)
Please print the itinerary/receipt for your reference.
Sign in to qatarairways.com and print it by clicking the link below
To cancel your booking online, please click the link below:
On board you will be offered:
– Daily press.
Thank you for choosing Qatar Airways and we look forward to welcoming you