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Airlines Targeted in Google Search Scam

Several airlines became the target of scammers on Google, replacing the real phone numbers on the search engine with those of a false call center.
If you recently attempted to call one of the major airlines using a phone number posted on Google, you may want to check your credit card statement to make sure you weren’t a victim of a scam.


One flyer recently discovered the hard way that the airline phone numbers on Google had changed and shared a timely warning on Twitter for other travelers.


Delta, American, and Southwest All Targeted in Scam Attempts

Schmuli Evans was attempting to fly out of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York when his flight was cancelled. As many people do, the traveler took to Google to get the phone number for Delta Air Lines to get his flight changed, instead of waiting in line for a customer service agent.


But instead of calling Delta’s actual customer service line at (800) 212-1212, he called a different number listed on the company’s profile. According to his account, the “customer service agent” then called him back from a French phone number, where he collected Evans’ flight information.


The scammer then sent him a possible alternate itinerary from a third telephone number, asking Evans to confirm if the alternate flight would work. The “agent” then got back on the phone and attempted to charge him five-times the price listed online.


Although there were multiple red flags throughout the call, Evans ultimately figured out it was a scam by asking the person on the other end of the line where they were located. The scammer said they were in Rochester, and claimed it was two hours south of New York City.


After some investigation, Evans discovered that Delta wasn’t the only airline targeted by the scammer attack. The phone numbers of several other airlines were changed, including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Air France, Qantas, ITA Airways, and Turkish Airlines.


In a statement to NBC News, Google said they do not “tolerate this misleading activity,” and were working to correct the issues.

Stay up to date with the correct airline contact information and rebooking tricks on the FlyerTalk Forums.

infinity696 July 26, 2023

That is why I'm always taking those numbers only from official websites and don't really understand people who even doesn't check the sourse of information before giving their money to someone 

Gizzabreak July 20, 2023

So, the obvious way to circumvent "panic" scams like this is to ensure that genuine, cross-checked, verified (etc) phone numbers (and email links) for all your travel airlines, hotels, Banks and any other "critical" contacts, are residing snuggly in your "contacts" app' (and maybe a copy in "Notes" (or similar)) WELL before the numbers and links become CRITICAL.

SamirD July 20, 2023

This has also been a problem with hotels and restaurants--google's maps and other things will have the wrong number or a 'google' number of some sort that is supposed to forward to the correct number but doesn't.  Bottom line, if the number isn't coming from the official place web site--restaurant, hotel, etc--it's probably fake.  Welcome to the scam Internet--been building up to this great moment in time for decades and now released fully featured in 2023!

WineCountryUA July 19, 2023

This is hardly new and has been going on for years. Is an issue with all airlines
Discussion going back to 2018
Scammed by a fake UA call center {Consoldiated} - FlyerTalk Forums
Dependence on Google search and the ability for scammer to pay for top search results is an underlying issue.
Good internet hygene is looking at the URL before clicking or better yet research the right link / phone numbers in advance of travel -- before you are in a probelm situtation.

darthbimmer July 19, 2023

You know it's a scam when you get to a live person pretty much right away.