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Scammers use fake social media accounts to impersonate airlines

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

Bogus accounts exist for every major UK airline on X, formerly known as Twitter, and are regularly used to trick customers into giving away their personal data, according to consumer association Which?.

It added that X is too slow to take down offending accounts.

The social media platform said accounts that impersonate organisations may be permanently suspended under its “misleading and deceptive identities policy”.

It previously told Which? that it had taken down all of the fake accounts identified by the consumer group.

The scam often happens when a frustrated customer tries to contact an airline to try to fix a problem, said Which?

It said scammers crawl social media – often using bots, a type of automated software – to find such interactions.

They then respond to the query or complaint, hoping that the customer will not notice they are being contacted by a fake account.

Which? gave the example of a researcher who contacted the genuine Wizz Air X account, @wizzair, asking if a flight was delayed, and almost immediately received responses from two fake accounts.

“Both used near-identical language, apologising for the inconvenience, stating that they had ‘already escalated this matter to the relevant department’ and requesting a ‘reachable WhatsApp number for assistance’ via DM [direct message],” it said.

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