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There has been an increase in scammers using social media to target frustrated travelers and steal their money. Recently, a passenger of easyJet shared their baggage issue on X (formerly known as Twitter) and was contacted by 10 fraudulent accounts. Despite being reported to X, five of these accounts were still active 24 hours later.
In 2022, The Independent brought to light that scammers in East Africa are attempting to profit from travelers’ grievances with airlines and vacation companies.
The fraudsters create fake accounts and reply to the victim. They request a phone number and communicate with the traveler through WhatsApp, falsely claiming that the travel company’s customer service is now based in Kenya or Tanzania. They carry out a complex scam in which the victim is deceived into sending money through a remittance application.
Passengers on easyJet have been repeatedly targeted – starting in the summer of 2023, when the airline was cancelling thousands of flights.
The issue of scams has become widespread, as evidenced by Richard Knight’s complaint on X regarding being charged for bringing a bag on a flight from London Gatwick to Palma de Mallorca. He received responses from 10 different scam websites.
One user, with the username @easyJet4ti, wrote: “Hello, I apologize for the inconvenience. I am here to assist you. Please follow back and send us a direct message for help.”
Even though The Independent has reported all 10 scam accounts to X, this particular account is still active among the five that are still operating.
47-year-old Mr Knight included the British Airways X site in his complaint and received multiple responses from individuals claiming to be from BA. One fraudulent account, @BritishAir_Kl, gave an identical response to another fake account, @easyJet_easy_. The message stated: “Hello, we apologize for the inconvenience. Please be aware that we have already forwarded this issue to the appropriate department. Kindly follow back and send us a direct message with your contact number so we can assist you promptly. Thank you. – Nicole.”
A fake BA representative falsely identified themselves as “Seen Dolye CEO British Airways”. The actual CEO of the airline is Sean Doyle.
Richard Knight, a passenger on easyJet, chose not to interact with the fraudulent websites and instead made a second attempt to reach out to the airline’s verified social media team.
The person stated that they paid £48 for a bag, but the wheels were too big to fit in the slot. They called the seller a bunch of crooks and expressed anger towards their greed, wishing they would choke on the money.
The team at easyJet X responded: “Hello Richard. I am willing to assist in any way possible, but any additional offensive behavior may result in the end of this exchange as we do not tolerate offensive language. Thank you, Jay.”
A representative from easyJet stated that they are still reporting counterfeit accounts to X in order for them to take appropriate measures.
“We recommend that customers only interact with our official channel, @easyJet, which can be identified by the gold verification badge for legitimate businesses. This is where you can find the most recent updates and seek assistance. It is important to stay vigilant and avoid engaging with or clicking on links from other accounts.”
British Airways has received an invitation to provide feedback.
The Independent has made multiple attempts to get in touch with X, but has consistently received the reply: “Currently occupied, please try again later.”