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Business/Economy

Alaska Air is not giving away free tickets, no matter what Facebook says

  • Author: Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times
  • Updated: January 11
  • Published January 11

It's back, with a vengeance, and many people are again falling for that Alaska Air Facebook scam.

You know: "Alaska Airlines rewards everyone with 2 free plane tickets to usher in 2018 and to celebrate 20 years of service!"

No, no, and again, no.

On its Facebook page, the airline posts prominently, "Sorry — we aren't giving away free airline tickets today. Please do not share or promote the survey scam."

But, but. The scam looks so real!

It also looked real in April of 2016 when the scam previously surfaced, and it looks real now.

In both cases, a coupon shows the Alaska Airlines logo, and a jet flying over snowy peaks. The typeface is the same as you've seen in real ads for the airline.

But look carefully and there, in tiny type at the bottom, it says: "Alaska Airlines is a registered trademark of Alaska Airlines, Inc who is not affiliated with this product."

And look at the coupon's URL — its global address on the internet — and you'll see not, "alaskaair.com," but "alaskaair.com.flywithustodayoffer.win/?a"

Good luck in trying to find who is behind that latter URL.

Identification of its ownership is blocked by a company based in Panama called "WhoIsGuard."

And what exactly is the scam trying to get from you?

Well, you go ahead and click on if you want to take a chance on a virus crawling into your computer.

We stopped after the initial steps, in which three innocuous questions were asked, "Have you traveled by Alaska Airlines?"; "How would you rate Alaska Airlines services?"; and "Would you refer any of your friends to use Alaska Airlines?"

After that came the closer: Share the coupon on Facebook, mark it "like" and then …

The scam warned, "We only have 120 Tickets remaining so hurry up!" That 120 number was never updated despite numerous postings about people taking up the offer.

A Summerville, Oregon, woman got leery as she kept going with the scam.

"Got to the fine detail about buying products and subscriptions and knew it was bogus," she posted on the legitimate Alaska Air Facebook site.

A woman from San Antonio posted, "They got me about an hour before I saw this. There was a publisher's house sweepstakes attached and a survey for commercial products."

On its Facebook page, Alaska Air has posted a tutorial called, "How to spot a scam ticket giveaway."

Stuff like, no official rules posted; the logo and face on the tail of the plane used in the scam is outdated; it required you to complete a survey and "share" the fake coupon.

And, most important, if it sounds too good … you know the rest.

If you did fall for the scam, you should be familiar by now with what you have to do next.

–Change your Facebook password. Click on Facebook's "Help Center," then click on "Account Security" and follow the instructions.

–Run that anti-virus software, such as the free Malwarebytes.

–Download the free Microsoft Security Essentials or use Microsoft Defender.

–As a matter of course, change your email password.

But, you know, that tantalizing free offer sure is hard to resist.

Especially when the scam website runs testimonials from a "Sabrina," who gushes, "Who would have thought I could get free tickets from Alaska Airlines."

Or a "Christopher," who just can't believe it, "I am the luckiest man on Earth."

Somewhere in Nigeria, a prince is smiling.

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