Consumer association Which? has warned that scammers are posing as airline customer service representatives on social media to steal sensitive data.

Which? says that scammers are crawling social media (often using bots) to find customers contacting airlines, and then contacting them or infiltrating their existing conversations with an airline via fake ‘X’ (Twitter) accounts.

Which? reports that it has “found examples of bogus X accounts impersonating every major airline operating in the UK, including British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Tui, Virgin Atlantic and Wizz Air” and that some have even paid for a blue tick in order to appear genuine. Also, Which? claims that the scammers are often faster at responding than the real airlines!

Tactics scammers have been using to steal data for use in identity fraud or to sell to other criminals include sending victims legitimate looking DMs, directing victims to phishing websites (to harvest card details), and using claims of compensation entitlement to trick victims into downloading a payment (money transfer) app such as Remitly, Skrill and WorldRemit.

The advice is this : before engaging with a company on social media, to check the official website for links to its social media profiles, check when an account joined X, and to check how many followers it has to help reveal whether it is genuine.