Be careful what you tweet publicly to British Airways, especially be concerning lost or delayed baggage. Scammers are lurking, ready to pounce on unsuspecting passengers in an effort to defraud them.
British Airways Baggage Scam Targets Victims On Twitter
Scams are part of life…we’ve lamented how easy it is to google for an airline telephone number only to be connected to fraudsters who will manipulate and lie to steal your money. This goes on every day and thousands fall prey to it.
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Sadly, this has been a wild summer for British Airways when it comes to lost luggage. With a shortage of baggage handlers and other ground staff at London Heathrow, tens of thousands of bags have been separated from their owners.
Many customers instinctively reach out on Twitter when their bags are lost, hoping for a more real-time update. But scammers have been paying close attention, setting up a Twitter account (now suspended) called @CareBritish.
They’d see the complaint on Twitter, then reach out via direct message (DM) for more information. After “confirming” contact details, the @CareBritish scammers would say the luggage was overseas and that £150 would need to be wired to an account in Kenya in order for the luggage to be sent to them.
Of course this immediately raised red flags for most customers. One passenger tweeted:
“Can someone call me and explain why I had to pay for a luggage that the airline did not send to its destination?”
But that very question implies there was some belief in the authenticity of the @CareBritish account.
As The UK Independent warns:
If the desperate passenger complies, then predictably the baggage does not appear. Instead the criminals step up their attack – explaining that further problems have arisen, and asking the victim to transfer more money.
One passenger in Mexico who connected through New York was told his baggage was in Dallas and that £150 would be required to deliver it to him.
Another was contacted by the @CareBritish account after tweeting to British Airways about pre-paying for oversized baggage. The scammers offered to let the passenger pay them in advance…
Tips To Avoid Being scammed By Fake Airline Twitter Accounts
The following are some general guidelines you can use to avoid being scammed by a fake airline Twitter account:
- Be careful of responding to messages from accounts without a blue check mark
- Sometimes airlines will ask for personal information via DM to ensure you are not scammer – that may include your full name or your DOB or your email address. But no airline will ever ask you to wire money or even ask for credit card information over Twitter or other social media accounts
- Never provide personal information publicly, only via DM
- If your baggage is lost, you’ll never have to pay to be re-united with it
- An airline will not reach out to you from a different account than from which you contacted them
While most of us would likely recognize the scam, I know too many people who have been defrauded by scammers pretending to be airlines. Exercise caution when complaining on social media and never convey personal information publicly. Most importantly, remember that you will never be asked to pay to be reunited with your baggage, even via DM.
image: British Airways