Fake Airline Accounts on X: New Tactics in Travel Scams

Every holidaymaker should be aware of the rise in scams via social media platforms to steal from them. There have been reports on different channels, mainly X, of frustrated users complaining about scammers impersonating popular airlines.

The fraudsters have mastered their way of tricking unsuspecting clients by asking for as much detailed information as possible that can facilitate fraud easily. The scammers pose as customer service agents of major airlines, as indicated by Which (a consumer research association).

You shouldn’t fall into this trap – we enlighten you on how this plan is done and how you will likely fall for it without a second thought.

Deception in Customer Service Accounts

Scammers know how to get their way into deceiving you using automated software. The bots can easily track customers’ contacts online by crawling into airline services and contacting users with fake accounts.

This move is so smartly executed that you will likely fail to notice any fishy things. For instance, scammers will respond to a query about EasyJet compensation or concerns about bookings and other services.

A good scenario was reported by a researcher who contacted Wizz Air on its official X account @wizzair inquiring about the flight delay. The shocking aspect is that the user received two similar responses from two suspicious accounts.

Both responses had the same language and were apologetic for the inconvenience. The response also indicated that this issue was escalated to the relevant personnel. The alleged customer service asked for a WhatsApp number for quick assistance via X’s direct message.

Besides this case, many other bogus accounts on X impersonate other top airline operators in the UK, including companies like Jet2, British Airways, Wizz Air, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Tui, and Ryanair.

One trick most fraudsters have mastered is the art of responsiveness: they respond faster than genuine customer service from the airline. For example, you could be requesting compensation for cancelled flight and getting instant feedback. This makes it harder to identify true customer service. Here are additional tactics used by scammers:

  • Request you to send your phone number and other information like banking details, flight number, or booking reference.
  • Provide you with a direct link that you should click on – this leads to phishing sources where your card details can be harvested.
  • Allege that you should get a refund, such as a Wizz Air flight compensation for something that happened on their end. Scammers might ask you to pay a small fee to expedite the compensation process. They may also instruct you to download a payment app to complete the transaction. Be cautious and avoid falling for these tactics.
  • Another trick is convincing you to pay for X verification to prove it is genuine.

Are There Measures to Resolve This?

Attempts to report such fraudulent activities don’t seem to bear fruit. Unfortunately, the accounts impersonating fake airlines are still operational and haven’t been flagged otherwise.
X claims to have suspended the fake accounts for violating the company’s rules, but this is not the case. The affected companies also don’t seem to have a straight answer to confirm if this is true and if there are any measures to protect their customers. However, the companies noted that they were working on this to minimize such experiences.

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