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Free Flights on Southwest Spam Emails

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

“Travel Confirmation” emails supposedly offer two free flights on Southwest Airlines and urge recipients to click links to verify their information and claim their flights.

Brief Analysis

The emails are bogus and have no connection to Southwest Airlines. The false promise of free flight tickets is the bait used to entice users to click links in the messages. The links lead to various suspect websites that promote everything from “adult” dating services to security software or bogus “survey” sites that try to extract personal information from users. Some of these sites may also harbour malware.

Example

Subject: Voucher #253467 – 2 Free Flights on Southwest

Travel ConfirmationCheck out the free flight on SouthWest which you are awarded

Verfiy your postal information Here – SouthWest Airline Ticket

Free Southwest Flights Spam Email

 

Detailed Analysis

These emails, which are disguised as “travel confirmation” notifications from US-based airline Southwest, claim that recipients have been awarded a voucher for two free Southwest flight tickets.

The messages instruct recipients to verify their postal information and claim their free tickets by clicking links in the emails. They also warn that recipients have only one day left to claim their free flights.

However, the emails have no connection to Southwest whatsoever and the offer of free flights is entirely bogus. Links in the messages open a webpage that automatically redirects users to one of many spam websites that peddle various products and services.

Some of the websites offer access to “adult” online dating services; some offer dubious software or online security services; some falsely claim that users can win expensive prizes in exchange for participating in various surveys that require them to provide mobile phone numbers and other personal and contact details; some may contain malware that users may inadvertently download to their computers.

The survey scam sites typically attempt to trick people into signing up for very expensive SMS services or providing their contact details to unscrupulous online marketers. Southwest has been previously targeted in similar survey scams.

In an apparent attempt to bypass spam filters, these messages are created as a graphic rather than text. And, although the messages appear to contain various links, in fact, the entire graphic is a clickable link. Thus, clicking anywhere in the message – even accidentally – will take the clicker to the redirect webpage and onward to further spam and scam websites.

If you receive one of these spam messages do not click any links that it contains. If you do accidentally click, close your browser window as quickly as possible and do not follow any instructions displayed on the bogus websites. Be aware that similar spam campaigns may use the names of other well-known airlines or travel services.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer