They’re dodgy, they make me cross, and they keep on happening.
After seeing so many Facebook scams from fake airline pages with promises of free first class around the world flights and other variations on that theme I’ve snapped.
The time has come for me to stop just writing ‘it’s a scam!’ on friends’ pages when they share it, and actually write a piece about it. So here goes…
In case you’ve somehow missed them, it usually work likes this:
The scammers create a page using the real airline’s official logos, with some amazing offer like around the world first class flights, or free flights for a year.
They ask you to both like and share the post, or to comment so that it will show up on your friends’ pages and they can try to con them as well.
What’s In It for the Scammers
The question I’m always asked when I helpfully write ‘scam!’ is what’s in it for the scammers?
‘What’s the harm in liking it?’ some say, adding that you may as well be in it to win it if it is real.
Well, it’s definitely not real so you won’t be missing out on the chance of a lifetime.
The scammers use the likes to hit you with other fake and spammy promotions, and they can sell the page to dodgy marketers.
This is called Like Farming and according to Hoax Slayer a page with around 100,000 likes can sell for around $1,000. So all of a sudden the page you Liked is something else.
If you go so far to fill out your details with your phone number or email in anticipation of that exciting ‘you’ve won’ moment, you can also expect to get phone calls from marketers and lots of lovely email spam.
People who fell for a recent scam pretending to be Qantas offering first class tickets found themselves getting phone calls from insurance salesmen.
There have also been reports of malicious links leading to malware on devices through these Facebook scams.
That’s a lottery I’d rather not take part in. Much better not to be taking part in that particular lottery.
A Qantas spokesperson says as well as disregarding any offers or posts from fake Facebook pages, they recommend customers visit the Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online website to help protect themselves against fraudulent activity.
How To Spot Fake Airline Scams on Facebook
Even if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re missing the official Blue Verification Tick that you’ll find on real airlines’ pages, these scams are ridiculously obvious when you know what you’re looking for.
Here are some tell-tale signs:
They’ll usually have an extra word in their title, like “Qantas Air” or “British Airways Airline” or a slight variation on the real name, such as “American Airline” singular, as opposed to airlines.
If you click to look on their account you’ll see they’ve only had a handful of posts, with those first class around the world tickets at the top.
If you check when the dodgy post is starting to be shared you’ll see they have a few hundred likes, compared to the hundreds of thousands or even millions that the real airline page has.
And if you pause to look before you like, there are usually either no terms and conditions or fairly vague ones. When a real company gives away a valuable prize they tell you the rules involved.
If It’s Too Good To Be True
Keep in mind that it’s extremely rare for a real airline to be giving away first class tickets.
As in, it’s rare for them to give away a single pair. To be giving away hundreds? Plain crazy.
In the entire time I’ve been following airlines like Qantas on Facebook I haven’t seen a single genuine first class tickets giveaway.
Of course, that’s not saying it can’t and won’t happen, and this post isn’t an elaborate scheme to discourage you from entering so that when there’s a real competition I’m the only one with my hat in the ring. It’s just highly unlikely, and I’ve yet to see a real one among the many, many fakes.
Keep in mind this is in no ways just a trick for fake airlines. There are all sorts of fake giveaway scams doing the same thing, from luxury car competitions to other more humble prizes like gift cards.
Just take two seconds to think before you like or share and we can stop these dodgy folks from popping up in our lives. And when those real competitions come up, see you there!
Love flying? Check out some of my airline reviews including Singapore Airlines Suites, British Airways Club World, Cathay Pacific’s Business Class, Emirates Business Class, Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class and Qantas premium economy.
I also share the best day to bag a cheap airfare, and while we’re talking travel tips, if you’re like me and often check out and leave your bags at a hotel so you do some more exploring before an afternoon or evening flight, you’re going to want to know this travel insurance tip…