Don't Be Scammed: "Free" Southwest Airline Tickets on Facebook

The website ZDNetis reporting a new scam that travel lovers and Facebook users should be aware of: supposed free tickets from Southwest Airlines. Let there be no doubt: the airline has nothing to do with this freebie-that-isn’t.

Speaking of Southwest, who knew so many celebs flew the discount carrier?

No Free Airline Tickets

It’s easy to be fooled since the scam looks like a bona fide marketing campaign by the airline. Here’s how it works: typically, Facebook users will see a message such as, “TWO FREE Southwest airline tickets” but it’s a scam. You won’t get free tickets if you click, but you will ultimately send the message along with a comment that “Southwest is the best” to all your friends and then some. The beneficiaries are commission-paid scammers who drive traffic to various sites, but that’s the least of it. The real danger is that the info you provide is used “to spread malware and obtain personal information.” Identity theft, anyone?

Smart tip: If anything seems too good to be true, it’s not true. If you’re still not sure, check with the source, either a verified website or official Facebook page. For example, FareCompare is currently running a contest to give away a 5 star trip for two to London, and yes, it is legitimate.

Past Airline Scams

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that scams are part of today’s social media fabric, so it pays to remember that normally, there is no free lunch. Not everyone’s paying attention though which is why scammers can get away with the same schemes over and over again.

For example, a near-identical Southwest scam was in play (and reported on) just this past February. And there have been scams involving free flights on JetBlue and Delta, too.

If you aren’t sure if a link is for real, do not click it.

Questions about Scams for Our Readers

Have you been the victim of a scam? Tell us what happened, and don’t be shy; believe me, you’re not alone.


Published: October 4, 2011