Southwest Airlines warns of free ticket Facebook scam | #phishing | #scams | #education | #technology | #infosec



Southwest Airlines is warning customers that the Dallas-based carrier is not giving away free tickets on social media after a scam account got thousands of likes and shares on Facebook by claiming a giveaway.

A post from an account called “Southwest Air Fans” posted the gimmick on Facebook over the weekend, claiming to be giving away two free tickets by simply replying with the word “Done” to its post. The giveaway claimed to be part of Southwest’s 69th birthday celebration, and it included one clear sign that the promotion was fake because Southwest was founded in Dallas in 1971, 51 years ago.

“Many of you may have seen this post from a fake account claiming to offer two roundtrip tickets,” Southwest posted on its own Facebook page. “While we like great flight deals as much as the next airline, this one is unfortunately not real, and wasn’t posted by Southwest Airlines.”

Southwest Airlines reported the scam to Facebook, and the social media site has removed the post from the illegitimate account, Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz said.

Airlines rarely, if ever, simply give away free tickets as part of social media promotions, and Southwest has been targeted by similar gimmicks before going back as far as 2011. In fact, Southwest Airlines seems to get more than its share of these kinds of scams compared to other airlines, perhaps because of its marketing focus on being a low-fare airline.

It’s unclear exactly how the fake account was planning to use the likes and shares from the Southwest Airlines gimmick, but the Better Business Bureau says the entire point of “like-farming” is to collect likes on social media on sites like Facebook and Instagram.

“But when the scammer collects enough likes and shares, they will edit the post and add something malicious, such as a link to malware,” the Better Business Bureau said on its page about fake social media giveaways. “Other times, once scammers reach their target number of likes, they strip the page’s original content and use it to promote spammy products or sell it on the black market.”

Both Southwest and the Better Business Bureua encourage social media users to look for the verified account checkmark next to the social media account’s name.

Airline ticket prices are rising, and it’s only going to get harder to find cheap flights





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