In recent years, Facebook has been hit with an ongoing series of scam posts that falsely claim to be giving away free flight tickets.
Many Airlines Targetted
Scammers have used the names of several airlines around the world including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Qantas, Jetstar, British Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Aeroflot, Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia, Southwest Airlines, EasyJet, Cebu Pacific, Aer Lingus, and a host of others.
Posts Not Connected to Named Airlines — No Tickets Are Being Given Away
The posts have no association with the airlines they name and those who participate have no chance whatsoever of winning any air tickets.
Posts Try To Trick You Into Promoting The Scam On Facebook
Typically, the posts feature the name and logo of the targeted airline and claim that you can click to get your free tickets. If you do take the bait and click, you will be told that you must first share and like the post before you can claim your tickets. This ensures that the fraudulent giveaway spreads rapidly across Facebook thereby gaining many new victims. Often, the scammers will insist that you also add a comment on the post. This helps to further promote the scam on Facebook.
In some versions, the primary goal of the scammers is to gather large numbers of Facebook Page likes as quickly as possible. Once the Facebook Page used in the scam has gained a great many new likes it can be used to launch further scams, this time to a much larger potential audience. Alternatively, the Page may be sold on the black market to other scammers who will repurpose it to suit their own goals. The more likes a Facebook Page has collected, the more it can be sold for.
Many versions are designed to trick you into divulging your personal details on suspect survey websites. The scam pages claim that you must fill in one or more surveys before you can claim your free air tickets and will present a list of survey links for you to choose from.
The survey sites will ask you to supply your name and contact details, supposedly so that you can go in the draw for further prizes. The information you supply will be shared with marketing companies who will subsequently inundate you with unwanted emails, phone calls, text messages, and letters promoting various dodgy products and services.
The scammers who create the fake airline ticket giveaways earn commissions when somebody provides personal information on one of the survey sites.
Check For Verified Icon on Facebook Pages
Facebook Pages belonging to major airlines will usually feature Facebook’s blue “Verified” icon beside the Page’s name. If a Page claiming to be associated with a particular airline does not have the verified icon, then it should be treated as suspect.
Don’t Help the Scammers by Participating
Many people participate in these bogus giveaways just in case they are genuine. They might think that participating will do no harm. But, in fact, by participating, these users are not only aiding and abetting scammers but exposing their Facebook friends to the scam as well. They are also putting their privacy and security at risk by sharing their personal details on scam websites.
If one of these fake airline ticket giveaway posts appears on your Facebook feed, do not click on it. And tell the person who posted it that the giveaway is a scam.
A Typical Example of an Airline Ticket Giveaway Scam Post