June 20, 2024

Banos Online

Traveling Around the World

Travellers targeted in airline ticket scam on X

Customers writing complaints online about low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet are being warned about getting targeted on X (formerly Twitter).

While social media platforms have become hives for scores of scammers hoping to make quick money from unsuspecting victims, digital community The CX Lead said “it is perhaps inevitable that the travel industry would be the next target”.

Scammers are reportedly offering support via a direct message in exchange for a phone number, despite being unaffiliated with airlines. Such individuals may even be using the airline branding for their profile banners and links to the official websites.

Hannah Clark, editor of The CX Lead, has claimed that the increase in scamming is due to “airlines [having for years now] used Twitter and recently X as a way to deal with customer queries and complaints”.

She added: “This made sense, as naturally it was the first place customers went to air their concerns when they felt they had been unfairly treated by an airline… They often use the DM function to share booking reference numbers and further contact details with legitimate customer service representatives in the hope of resolution.”

It comes as Ryanair has recently issued scam alerts about companies offering increased fares and fake discounts.

Ms Clark spoke of the necessity for airlines to flag these issues. She explained: “Now, they will have to advise their customers on how to tell the difference between their legitimate customer service bots and these interlopers who are responding to client queries, often faster than the real customer service bots can.

“Usually, when we have travel complaints, we are already in a state of stress or panic. These scammers know this and are hoping to prey on those heightened emotions. For example, if a flight has been canceled and we’re stranded at an airport, we might be more likely to fall for a message from a fake customer service rep on our phone than we would if we were at home sitting calmly at a desk.”

To avoid falling prey to ticket scams, social media users have been advised to look for official customer service channels ahead of deciding to share a complaint online.

Replies that look authentic would be from official accounts with handles including @easyJet for EasyJet and @askRyanair for Ryanair.

Ms Clarke also advised against feeling tempted to send booking references, financial details, or phone numbers to any other accounts.