Social media users have been warned about a scam pretending to have links to Sydney Airport.
The scam, circulating on Facebook, offers “lost” suitcases filled with strangers’ possessions for just $3, with the proceeds going to charity.
A network of fake profiles commenting on scam posts, and a fake Sydney Airport website, make the elaborate ruse all the more convincing, but a Sydney Airport spokesperson has warned people to stay vigilant.
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Images of rooms full of abandoned luggage, with signs reading ‘Sydney Airport’ have been shared on Facebook throughout December.
For social media users who take the bait and click on the “shop now” button, a dodgy-looking website with an unofficial URL, and a widget counting down to the end of the sale, will appear.
“We are urgently clearing out the airport warehouse and selling luggage that has been unattended for more than six months. According to the rules, it should be disposed of, but we are organising a charity event and giving it away for just $3,” the website said.
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Under each post, generic images of perfectly packed suitcases are accompanied by comments from fake profiles.
“Just received mine, didn’t expect to find so well-packed suitcase, just surprised,” one person wrote.
“Today the courier brought my suitcase. Just look what I got,” another said.
And it’s not a far-fetched concept, either.
Unclaimed goods at the airport do get donated to local charities or are “repurposed” in Sydney Airport’s Lost Property Auction.
However, airport protocol means checked luggage is only ever handled by the airlines, not the airport — and Sydney Airport’s lost property team only get involved if luggage is left in terminals or car parks.
Sydney Airport has warned social media users to stay vigilant after a new impersonation scam has emerged, ‘selling’ lost luggage for $3 a piece. Credit: FacebookA fake Sydney Airport website explains that the lost luggage sale is for ‘charity’. Credit: SuppliedFake accounts commenting on scam posts make the ruse even more convincing. Credit: Facebook
The fake accounts commenting on the scams posts appear, at a glance, to be run by legitimate users, with convincing content on their profiles dating back to 2022.
Red flags in the form of questionable friends lists, URLs and locations, as well as comments from former victims, require some digging to discover, but a legitimate Sydney Airport spokesperson has offered a simple solution.
“We would urge everyone to stay vigilant to social media scams and only trust information from Sydney Airport’s official verified accounts,” the spokesperson said.
It’s not the first scam of its kind. Australia Post fell victim to a similar impersonation scam, which claimed the postal service was selling “thousands of forgotten parcels” in October.
“The company must dispose of unclaimed parcels once a year; however, it offers the opportunity to receive random parcels for $3.43,” the scam post on social media said.
An Australia Post spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au at the time: “If customers see something suspicious, whether on text, email or social media that appears to be from Australia Post, we encourage them to report it to email@example.com and delete it immediately.”
“We also recommend customers download the AusPost app, which is the most reliable and secure way to receive delivery updates because it uses push notifications that can’t be replicated by scammers.”