There are all sorts of ‘free ticket scams’ out there and odds on if you’re reading a travel blog you’re savvy enough to realize what Snopes has created a page for — that airlines aren’t giving away free tickets if you like their page.
To be sure airlines used to give away frequent flyer miles for liking them on Facebook. They thought they could build up an audience that they could market to forever, not realizing that you don’t make money on someone else’s platform — that soon enough Facebook would start charging a toll for companies to reach their followers.
But there hasn’t ever been a free ticket just for liking a page, or forwarding a scam email to 50 friends either.
However there’s a new variant on this scam that is really clever. Smart people look at the domain name of a website before believing they’re really dealing with United Airlines or Delta or Southwest.
But what if the scammer actually made it look like the scam website was Delta’s? I don’t just mean copying Delta’s branding. What if the URL they directed you to was Delta.com?
That’s precisely what the latest generation of this scam does. Their websites are deǀta.com, easyjėt, and ryanaiṛ.com. Don’t those look almost just like the website addresses you’re used to seeing? You might not even notice that a pipe (|) replaces the L in Delta or that there’s a dot above the second e in easyjet.
These websites are mobile-optimized (they render funny for desktop broswers) and are set up to look like a page from the airline, and “they all include a Facebook-like section where it is made to appear as though a number of users have liked or loved the “post” along with a handful of positive comments.”
Here are two samples:
No one offers a free airline ticket for answering three questions and sharing the (scam) offer with friends.
Anyone offering something for free but asking you for a credit card to claim your prize is suspect. However scammers are getting good at making themselves look like the brands you know and maybe even trust (I don’t think I’d have chosen Delta, Ryanair, or easyJet for that myself).
Let’s all be careful out there!
(HT: David H.)