An airline customer is going viral after trying to contact customer service at John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport, and, instead, discovered that several airline phone numbers listed on Google are fake.
Shmuli Evers took to Twitter on Sunday to share his experience in a thread that’s been viewed over 2.3 million times.
Evers explained that he called the Delta Airlines customer service line at JFK, which, he says, was listed on Google, to reschedule a flight that had been canceled.
He then received a call back from a different number from someone claiming to be a Delta representative that another flight had been located.
By providing him with my confirmation number and name, he was able to look up my Trip information on delta. He found al alternative flight from Newark, leaving later in the evening. But he needed me to confirm.— Shmuli Evers (@Shmuli) July 16, 2023
He then received an SMS confirmation of the flight and was asked to confirm via SMS (not over the phone) before the “Delta” rep told him he had to cancel that reservation and that he must pay for the new one.
With suspicions already high, Evers began questioning who he was speaking with and where they were located.
This is when I told him, I have heard too many scams lately I do not feel comfortable to give him any payment information over the phone. The fact that he did not provide any alternatives, confirmed to me I was dealing with a SCAMMER. @DansDeals— Shmuli Evers (@Shmuli) July 16, 2023
“He tried to text me after that, and he tried his best for so long to help me get on a flight,” Evers explained. “He wanted me to pay him 5 times the price of the original ticket cost… If he was really from Delta he would have just booked me on that flight. I hate Scammers.”
Evers continued to investigate and found out that for JFK airport, customer service numbers for American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Air France, ITA Airways, Qantas Airlines, and Turkish Airlines had all been changed to robot scam numbers.
@AirFranceUS was also targeted on @googlemaps . Their real toll free number is 1 (800) 237-2747. they are trying to look similar with a 877 number. pic.twitter.com/TjWBKNBCpV— Shmuli Evers (@Shmuli) July 16, 2023
Google maintained that the company is actively on the lookout for these kinds of scams and is fixing the flagged numbers.
“We do not tolerate this misleading activity, and are constantly monitoring and evolving our platforms to combat fraud and create a safe environment for users and businesses,” a Google spokesperson said to CNN. “Our teams have already begun reverting the inaccuracies, suspending the malicious accounts involved, and applying additional protections to prevent further abuse.”
Scammers can change numbers on Google via Google business pages, which are public and can be edited by most users.
Though red flags will vary, as Evers pointed out, airlines and professional businesses rarely (if ever) ask for confirmation via SMS text message.
Delta Airlines did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur‘s request for comment on the situation.