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Fake Airline Profiles On X Used To Steal User Data; Platform’s Delayed Response Criticized


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Holidaymakers are being warned about a surge in Twitter scams involving fake social media accounts impersonating airlines. According to consumer association “Which?”, every major UK airline has bogus accounts on X, formerly known as Twitter. These fake accounts trick customers into giving away their personal data. “Which?” also criticized X for being too slow to take down these accounts.

X stated that accounts impersonating organizations could be permanently suspended under its “misleading and deceptive identities policy.” The platform claimed to have removed all fake accounts identified by “Which?”

The scam typically occurs when a frustrated customer contacts an airline to resolve an issue. Scammers, often using bots, find these interactions on social media and respond, hoping the customer doesn’t realize they are being contacted by a fake account.

“Which?” described a case where a researcher contacted the genuine Wizz Air X account and received responses from two fake accounts. These fake accounts used identical language, apologized for the inconvenience, claimed to have escalated the issue, and asked for a WhatsApp number for further assistance. This is one of the many Wizz Air scams that have been reported recently.

Scammers frequently ask customers to send sensitive personal data or direct them to phishing websites to steal credit card details. Some also claim customers are entitled to compensation or ask for a small fee to resolve the issue.

“Which?” found fake X accounts impersonating major UK airlines, including British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Tui, Virgin Atlantic, and Wizz Air. Reporting fake accounts to X has had limited success, as most bogus posts and accounts flagged by “Which?” remained active at the time of writing.

An X spokesperson emphasized the platform’s policy against impersonating identities and misleading others. Accounts that pose as another person, group, or organization may be permanently suspended.

In 2024, the rise in these Twitter scams has prompted a push for better fake social media profile detection to protect consumers. Airlines are urging customers to be cautious of fake accounts and avoid sharing personal data on social media. An easyJet spokesperson advised customers to follow and engage only with the official @easyJet account, which is identifiable by the gold verification badge for official businesses. They warned customers to be vigilant and avoid clicking on links from other accounts.

A Wizz Air spokesperson stated that the airline continues to report fake social media accounts and reminded customers never to share personal details on these channels. They advised passengers to contact customer service via official claims or call centers for assistance.

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