Useful rule of thumb If someone on Twitter asks you to send money to Kenya to get a bag that was mishandled on your flight from London to Miami, it’s probably a scam.
Some unfortunate travelers learned this lesson the hard way this summer, though, as scammers took full advantage of the Summer of Lost Luggage and preyed on people’s desperation. As reported by The Independent, a Twitter account pretending to be British Airways customer service contacted people who’d tweeted at the airline about their lost luggage, and then conned them out of cash.
The fake account — @CareBritish — would respond to complaints asking for personal information like phone numbers and emails before requesting payment to return the mishandled bags. Of course, the luggage never showed, so the imposters asked for even more money to have the issues ironed out. They requested the money be sent to an account in Kenya, when flights went nowhere near that country. Ultimately, this twitter scam bilked out some people of nearly a thousand dollars.
This raises all kinds of red flags, as no airline in the history of checked luggage has ever requested money to return a bag. Further, airlines don’t have unverified Twitter accounts that handle their customer service requests. Nor do they have bank accounts on other continents that handle payments. Still, when you’re desperate to get your bags back and BA isn’t responding because they have an airport full of lost luggage to deal with, maybe scam detectors get a little dull.
So, if you do opt to go on Twitter to inquire about a lost bag, only respond to a verified account from the airline you reached out to. Remember, they’ll never ask for money to have a bag returned as it’s their responsibility to get it back to you. Lost luggage can be stressful, yes, but airlines have all sorts of rules they need to follow when they lose your bag, and typically they’ll be the ones paying you. Stay diligent, even when it feels like you may never see your suitcase again.