Fact-check: Scam Facebook posts show airport selling lost luggage for €1 - Featured image

Fact-check Malta: Scam Facebook posts show airport selling lost luggage for €1


A series of Facebook posts advertising the sale of lost luggage for €1 is just the latest in a long line of social media scams.

A new Facebook page named “Valletta Airport” has uploaded a series of posts in recently advertising a flash sale of lost luggage against a €1 fee, quickly racking up thousands of followers.

“Phones, laptops, jewelry (sic), money – and other cool surprises – you often find all of this in suitcases”, one such post claims.

The posts are often followed by a series of comments from apparently satisfied punters showing off the wares they found within the suitcases they purchased, including wads of cash, phones and branded clothes.

Some of the commenters say they were initially sceptical, but “€1 is not such a big price”.

This is simply the most recent example of a scam that has travelled around the world, much in the same way as the suitcases supposedly being sold.

Similar scams have been detected around Europe, as well as in Australia, the Philippines, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

It is also not the first time that this scam has hit Malta. Back in November, Malta International Airport (MIA) warned against a similar scam being carried out by a different Facebook page.

Malta International Airport had warned against a similar scam last year.

How does the scam work?

The scam aims to get hold of people’s personal details in order to eventually steal their money, a technique often known as phishing.

The “Valletta Airport” Facebook page directs people towards a fake website posing as the Malta International Airport website, using MIA’s logo and colour scheme.

The fake website’s homepage.

In slightly broken English, the website tells visitors that the airport is selling off luggage that has remained unclaimed for over six months and donating proceeds to charity.

The website’s homepage features several glowing endorsements by people going by typical Maltese names, such as Emma Camilleri, Luke Attard, Maria Farrugia and Adrian Borg, who discuss the goods they got their hands on through their purchases.

Several glowing reviews try to entice readers to sign up.

The site then asks users to sign up for the purchase, telling them to submit personal details such as their name, address, telephone number and email address.

A checkout page follows, where users are asked to submit their card details, as they typically would for any standard online purchase.

Prospective buyers are eventually lead to a checkout page and asked for their card details.

Having gotten hold of the unsuspecting user’s personal and card details, the scammers are then free to go on an online shopping spree of their own.

Manipulated photos

The scam uses several manipulated photos recycled from identical scams around Europe and other parts of the world.

Many of the photos show stacks of abandoned suitcases lying idly in an airport, alongside signs listing the name of the airport and the price of a suitcase.

A reverse image search shows how the same photos were used across different countries, only with the name of the airport and the currency changed to tailor for each country where the scam was being spread.

Meanwhile, the “Valletta Airport” Facebook page is very evidently a fake page that is not linked in any way to the Malta International Airport. Even if we ignore the page’s incorrect name, this is clear from the fact that the page was only created in recent days, using a stock photo of Malta’s airport as both its profile and cover images.

What really happens to lost luggage?

When contacted by Times of Malta, a spokesperson for MIA warned against “fraudulent advertisements” leading users to “malicious websites which are not affiliated with Malta International Airport”.

The spokesperson explained that unclaimed luggage found within the airport terminal is stored at the airport for six months and logged in an online registry. Anyone who has lost a suitcase can reclaim it by filling in an online form on the airport’s website.

If a suitcase remains unclaimed after six months, it is eventually donated to charity, contents and all.

“In fact, for the past three months, Malta International Airport has donated any such items left at the terminal to Dar tal-Providenza”, the spokesperson said.


This is a scam being shared by a fake Facebook page created in recent days.

The scam aims to lure people into giving up their personal and card details.

Identical scams have been detected several times before in several countries around the world. The same scam had also travelled to Malta before, with MIA warning against the scam last November.

This claim is therefore false, as the evidence clearly refutes the claim.

The Times of Malta fact-checking service forms part of the Mediterranean Digital Media Observatory (MedDMO) and the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), an independent observatory with hubs across all 27 EU member states that is funded by the EU’s Digital Europe programme. Fact-checks are based on our code of principles

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Fact Check, Society

Author(s): Neville Borg

Originally published here.