Scammers are setting up social media accounts impersonating easyJet to try to cash in on unhappy passengers whose flights have been cancelled.
At least 180,000 easyJet passengers have had holiday flights canceled after it canceled 1,700 summer departures to and from London Gatwick. The goal is to stabilize the schedule.
Hundreds of flights have been canceled in recent weeks at Sussex airport, which easyJet blamed on air traffic control delays.
Frustrated passengers seeking help online are at risk of being taken advantage of by scammers.
For at least a year, criminals have been trying to scam airline passengers by blocking social media posts. They often ask customers to send a direct message using their cell phone number.
The conversation could then involve bank transfer requests for flight changes – or looking up account details to steal money.
An easyJet passenger, Angela Collier, was duped by scammers after her easyJet flights were canceled and she requested a refund.
“It’s a very professional scam going on,” she said. When easyJet doesn’t give clear or concise instructions when they cancel hundreds of flights and can’t speak to anyone at easyJet, it makes the job of scammers easy – especially when it was a very stressful situation with a canceled flight.
“The scammers told me the refund system was down and they were refunding through WorldRemit.”
WorldRemit is a legitimate international money transfer organization.
Ms. Collier passed on her bank details in the hope that the money would be credited. Instead, the scammers tried to debit her bank account for £1,400.
“Luckily my bank, HSBC, declined the fees. However, it was a very stressful situation due to a canceled holiday.”
An easyJet spokesperson said: “We recommend that customers only follow and interact with our only official Twitter channel, @easyJet, which is identifiable with a golden verification badge for businesses. official, to stay up to date with the latest information or to seek support and to be vigilant and do not join or click on any links from other accounts.”
independence asked Twitter to close about a dozen fake easyJet accounts – with the last one, @easyJet__1, still active on Tuesday afternoon. It was just launched this month and claims: “This is our only Twitter account.”
Many passengers whose flights have been canceled for July, August, and September have been contacted independence – apparently unaware of their rights.
Usually, easyJet has rebooked them for another day and sometimes from a different airport.
Under Europe’s airline passenger rights rules, any airline that cancels a flight must provide a ticket – on any carrier – for the same day as it was originally booked. But easyJet appears to assign passengers to its services up to 36 hours before or after a canceled departure.
One passenger, Elizabeth Mezzone, canceled both mid-morning flights between Gatwick and Barcelona. The Spanish airline, Vueling, has almost identical times with empty seats. But instead of buying her seat on its rival, easyJet rebooked her for an early departure from Luton, 60 miles away, and plans to bring her back to Luton a day early.
She wrote to Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, saying: “Many times we have tried to phone the customer service helpline and are hung up on a line that never rings. answered. In one, we were done and your service representative literally hung up when we politely explained the situation.
“Not only did the alternatives not work for us, but no explanation was given. It has caused us great suffering and inconvenience and as a regular customer I am saddened that your airline has chosen to behave with what appears to be contempt and contempt. your customer.”
independence advised Ms. Mezzone to request Vueling flights.
Anna Bowles, head of consumer affairs at the Civil Aviation Authority, has warned airlines to cancel flights and not give passengers clear choices.
“When we have evidence that airlines are not following the guidelines, we will not hesitate to take further action if needed,” she said.
independence invited easyJet to respond.