Travel News

How to spot a travel scam on social media – and avoid losing hundreds of pounds

Simon Calder’s Travel

Criminals are targeting frustrated travellers on social media by setting up scam airline accounts and pretending to offer help.

As The Independent first revealed in 2022, villains mainly based in East Africa are seeking to cash in on travellers’ complaints to airlines and holiday companies.

So prolific have the attempts to steal money become that one easyJet passenger who complained on X (formerly Twitter) about a baggage issue was contacted by 10 scam accounts.

When and how did they start? How do the scammers lure their victims? What is the end game that results in airline passengers and holidaymakers unwittingly sending cash to the villains? And how can you avoid them?

These are the key questions and answers.

What’s the problem?

Scammers intent on stealing money from unhappy travellers are running wild on social media. They take advantage of frustrated airline passengers and holidaymakers who go on to platforms such as X (formerly Twitter) in a bid to get a response on travel issues.

The criminals set up “imposter” accounts that bear a passing resemblance to the official site. Typical scam accounts include:

  • @easyJet_easy_
  • @CareBritish
  • Seen Dolye CEO British Airways (BA’s chief executive is Sean Doyle)

The villains’ aim is to persuade innocent travellers to contact them so that an elaborate series of lies can be told and hundreds of pounds extracted while the passenger fondly believes they are being “helped”.

When and how did it start?

The scammers’ opportunities began as travel restarted after Covid. With maximum pressure on an industry that was on its knees, many things went wrong – from lost baggage to flights cancelled on an industrial scale.

Fraudsters saw the opportunity to cash in on passengers’s frustrations. In an early case The Independent looked at, a British Airways passenger living in Mexico, whose bag had failed to appear at New York JFK, was told their bag had mysteriously been flown from a different NYC airport, La Guardia, to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Someone calling himself “Martin from BA” wrote on Twitter that the luggage could be recovered – but only if the passenger transferred 22,458 Kenyan shillings (£150) to a person living in Nakuru, Kenya.

That is not a normal request from a UK airline about baggage that is supposedly in the US and belongs to a Mexican passenger.

How does the scam work?


Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…