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Fake Airline Accounts On X Trick Customers Into Sharing Data

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Holidaymakers are being warned about increased scams where fake social media accounts are used to impersonate airlines. 

According to consumer association Which?, these bogus accounts exist for every major UK airline on X and are regularly employed to deceive customers into revealing personal data.

Which? has criticised X for being too slow to take down these fraudulent accounts. 

The company said accounts impersonating organisations may be permanently suspended under its "misleading and deceptive identities policy." 

Previously, X claimed it had removed all fake accounts identified by Which?.

The scam typically occurs when a frustrated customer contacts an airline on social media to resolve an issue, said Which?.

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Scammers, often using bots, monitor these interactions and respond, hoping the customer will not realize they are being contacted by a fake account.

Scammers ask customers to send sensitive personal data or send them to phishing websites

Which? highlighted an example where a researcher contacted the genuine Wizz Air X account, @wizzair, to inquire about a flight delay. 

Almost immediately, responses came from two fake accounts. 

Both used nearly identical language and apologised for the inconvenience,.

It claimed the matter had been escalated, and requested a reachable WhatsApp number for assistance via direct message.

Scammers often ask customers to send sensitive personal data or direct them to phishing websites where their credit card details can be harvested. 

Some fraudsters claim customers are entitled to compensation from the airlines or request a small fee to resolve the issue.

Which? found bogus X accounts impersonating every major airline operating in the UK, including British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Tui, Virgin Atlantic, and Wizz Air. 

Reporting fake accounts to X has had limited success, with most flagged accounts still active at the time of writing.

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An X spokesperson said: "On X, you may not misappropriate the identity of individuals, groups, or organizations or use a fake identity to deceive others. 

“Accounts that pose as another person, group, or organization confusingly or deceptively may be permanently suspended under X’s misleading and deceptive identities policy."

Airlines are urging customers to be cautious of fake accounts and to avoid sharing personal data on social media. 

An easyJet spokesperson said: “We advise customers to only follow and engage with our sole official channel @easyJet, which is identifiable by the gold verification badge for official businesses, for the latest updates or to seek support and to be vigilant and to not engage with or click on any links from other accounts."

A Wizz Air spokesperson said: “We continue to report fake social media accounts and would like to remind customers to never give their personal details out on these channels. Passengers should contact customer service via our claims or call centres.”

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