Viral free flight tickets’ offers from airlines are phishing scams

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A claim that the British Airways is giving out free tickets to its customers has circulated on social media, particularly on WhatsApp.

The message has been shared widely on multiple WhatsApp groups with a call to action to click a particular website or link in the forwarded message.

Similarly, text messages allegedly from few other airlines promising freebies such as Ramadan giveaways like Saudia and Qatar Airways are also being circulated on multiple social messaging platforms.

READ: AI may spur disinformation campaigns, phishing about US 2024 elections – Report

All the WhatsApp messages retrieved contain only links to some websites which have similar features with most phishing links The FactCheckHub had earlier debunked.

 

CLAIM

Multiple airlines are currently offering free flight tickets.

 

THE FINDINGS

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE!

Photo collage showing the phishing links

When one of the web links – the Saudia Airline website promising Ramadan welfare subsidy – was clicked to check the authenticity of the website, it prompted our fact-checker to answer four questions, after which it asked her to click on a box to retrieve her gift with which only three trials is allowed.

Screenshot of the Image showing the questions

After clicking on the second box, it stated that this fact-checker had won a cash prize of N366,762 and in order to claim the prize, the link has to be shared to five WhatsApp groups or with 20 friends till ‘the green bar is full’. It prompted the user to fill their contact details including their address after which they would receive the gifts in a few days, a typical feature of most phishing scams.

Image of the boxes from the Phishing Websites links

Image of the Prize money from the Phishing Website link

The FactCheckHub conducted the same check on the web link promising free British airways tickets and the website had the same instructions as the Saudia phishing website.

Further checks show that after a few days, two of the three websites sharing the free tickets freebies were no longer available online.

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This is synonymous with most phishing scams The FactCheckHub has debunked over the years, as they harvest people’s details to carry out phishing attacks.

 

THE VERDICT

The claim that multiple airlines are currently offering free flight tickets is FALSE; the links were found to be phishing websites used in carrying out online scams.

Fact-checker at The FactheckHub | [email protected] | + posts

Seasoned fact-checker and researcher Fatimah Quadri has written numerous fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy pieces for The FactCheckHub in an effort to combat information disorder. She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected].

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