Beware of “win free tickets” promotions!

English: KOLKATA WEST INTERNATIONAL CITY SCAM

Image via Wikipedia

“Win 2 free tickets to anywhere (insert airline name) flies to”. You may have seen this on Facebook or other social media. You may have even received such invitations from your friends. Too good to be true? Indeed. Other than through frequent-flyer programs, occasional bona fide promotions or denied boarding compensation, airlines don’t usually give free tickets, much less go on a giveaway spree.

A warning on Lufthansa’s Facebook page is quite clear and does not hesitate to call it a “scam”:

WARNING! Facebook scam! A fake raffle with reference to Lufthansa (“Win two Lufthansa tickets for flights around the world”) is spreading around. Do not click on the associated link. We already reported this scam and are further investigating.

A similar fake promotion is also circulating, this time identifying itself as a Southwest Airlines offer. Per a recent Better Business Bureau warning, such “promotions” are far from being harmless:

Users are promised 2 free tickets from Southwest Airlines just for posting a link to Facebook and then ‘liking’ it. While the offer looks too good to be true, it is! Clicking on the like button provides the scammers the opportunity to collect your information.

What does this mean? You could become a victim of “clickjacking“, because you’re not actually entering a contest or a promotion. You’re providing your personal information to… well, who-knows? This may even (unknowingly) involve subscribing to very expensive cell phone text messages, as one user reported on the Lufthansa Facebook page. You could even be exposed to malware, as an All Facebook article about clickjacking warns. And worst of all, when you realize you’re not getting free tickets after all, it might be too late: your friends may have seen on their news feed that you participated or even received an invitation from you as well.

With this in mind, it’s needless to say: don’t fall for this type of trap. If not for yourself, at least for your friends.

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