Scammers Are Targeting Disgruntled Travelers Via X/Twitter

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There’s no denying that X (formerly Twitter) has turned into a cesspool since Elon purchased it in 2022. With its new and expensive subscription verification model putting many essential features behind a paywall, the platform has seen a noticeable user base decline in the last year and change.

The blue check mark we all looked up to is now worthless as anyone can pay for it by subscribing to X’s premium plan. Even though X implemented higher tier verification methods for trusted organizations like that gold and grey check marks, scammers are taking advantage the fact that many users no longer trust the verification status of X accounts given how easy it is to acquire a blue check mark.

The complaint customer support pitch

As highlighted in a Wapo post by Mike Hume, scammers know that many customers take to platforms like X to complain about flight delays or lost baggage. These scammers actively hunt for tweets to intercept them before the actual airlines do.

Here is Mike’s experience. In January, his JetBlue flight was delayed for paperwork issues, resulting in the aircraft returning to the gate. He took to X to vent his frustration and was later greeted with a reply from a supposed JetBlue representative going by the name “Patrick, JetBlue Manager”.

“We apologize for the situation and inconvenience caused. In order for us to be able to check about the situation, we kindly request that you please send us your reachable phone number so agent, JP Can assist.”

What was strange was that another random account, this time titled “Thomas Clark JetBlue Supervisor”, also replied to his tweet saying:

“Hi apologies for the inconvenience caused, kindly follow back and share a reachable number via DM for assistance please. Thank you.”

Mike was smart enough to investigate these accounts and quickly realized they were fake. Besides the misspelt user handles, these account were newly created and had no followers, and no information about their affiliation with JetBlue.

Unfortunately there are people who believe that these accounts are legit, partially because having a blue check mark means nothing anymore. If the scammer succeeds in getting a phone number, they then contact the victim in hopes of pretending to solve the issue.

They might then claim to rebook the ticket for another time, and ask for the victim’s credit card information to put on file. From there, they take that credit card and buy gift cards or prepaid cards. Scammers typically buy these cards because they are very easy to purchase, and are nearly impossible to trace or refund, and can be treated as cash.

In some variations of this scam, some may flat out ask their victims to buy the gift card directly, claiming that theese cards are accepted by the airline for changes. At the end of it all, the passenger is now scammed out of their money on top of their issue with the airline still remaining unresolved.

How to avoid being scammed on X/Twitter

Don’t use X/Twitter to lodge complaints. That’s it.

Ideally you should send complaints or queries via their official website or app to minimize any chances of unwanted third parties intercepting your messages. If you insist on using X, you should DM the company accounts that have a gold check mark rather than publicly posting about your travel predicament.

Besides the $1,000 monthly fee, gold check marked accounts require a lot more verification, so the incentive to try to fake a gold account is very low. Nonetheless, many can agree that it is safer to interact with the airline through their official website or app. With live chats and quicker response times, it just makes more sense to avoid social platforms for matters like this.

[Featured Photo: JetBlue ]

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