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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Scammers Impersonate Airlines Using Fake Social Media Accounts

Scammers are using fake social media accounts to impersonate every major airline operating in the UK, according to an investigation by the consumer group Which? These bogus accounts mimic the official accounts of airlines such as British Airways, Jet2, easyJet, Tui, Ryanair, Wizz Air, and Virgin Atlantic are present on platforms like X, previously known as Twitter.

The scam typically works as follows:

  • A customer contacts an airline’s official social media account to inquire about an issue like a delayed flight.
  • Scammers, often using bots, quickly respond posing as the airline.
  • They apologize for the inconvenience, claim to have escalated the matter, and request the customer’s WhatsApp number or other personal information via direct message.

The goal of these scammers is to obtain sensitive personal data from customers or direct them to phishing websites to harvest credit card details. Some fraudsters even demand a small fee, claiming the customer is entitled to compensation.

Reporting Fake Accounts

Reporting fake accounts to platform X seems to have minimal effect, as most of the flagged posts and accounts remain active. However, X indicates that accounts impersonating organizations could face permanent suspension under its “misleading and deceptive identities policy.”

Airline Responses

Airlines are urging customers to be cautious and only engage with their official verified social media accounts. For example:

  • EasyJet advised customers to only interact with its official @easyJet account, identifiable by the gold verification badge, and not to click on links from other accounts.
  • Wizz Air reminded customers never to disclose personal details on social media channels and to contact customer service through official claims or call centers.

The investigation highlights the importance of verifying the authenticity of social media accounts before sharing personal information or engaging with them, especially when dealing with airlines or other organizations.

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