Op-Ed: 'Free Southwest tickets' email scam circulating online
An email scam is making the rounds offering free Southwest airline tickets. This scam resembles an earlier one that had surfaced on Facebook over the past year, and appears to be a new variation of an email scam that appeared around the winter holidays.
The scam informs the recipient that two free tickets have been 'won' to fly Southwest Airlines. The email clearly appears to be a scam, not even close to resembling some of the craftier ones that circulate in email or social media these days.
There were so many things wrong with this email. But, just to double check, I contacted Southwest Airlines to confirm the scam. At time of publish, after briefly being in touch, Southwest Airlines confirmed to Digital Journal
via email the two examples forwarded by this reporter were indeed spam, however, the company had not immediately responded to additional questions asked.
What's wrong with this email?
There are a more than a few red flags:
• Southwest is spelled wrong in the email address
• The Southwest Airlines
does not capitalize the "west" portion of its name. This email writes "SouthWest" instead of the proper "Southwest"
• Total ticket cost "$0.00 a night". Many airlines typically charge for a lot of extras these days, but since when do flights charge by the night?
• Links do not lead to anything remotely resembling a Southwest domain.
• Subject line was a response, not an initiated email. "Re:" would indicate this email would have been a reply to the recipient.
• Typos as in "SouthWest flys"
• The email contains a link for the recipient to click to refuse the "free" tickets and kindly offers a link to report spam. While the email is terribly presented, that "report spam" might catch some people who may click the link to report the email.
• Sender is clearly not Southwest ("MichiganRoks"). Other variations of this email contained links that led to other unrelated Southwest Airline links with other domain names.
Earlier this year the Better Business Bureau
warned of a scam offering free Southwest tickets that had been circulating on Facebook. Hoax-Slayer
had reported in Jan. 2012 a similar Southwest related email scam claimed the airline was giving away "holiday gifts."
It seems the scammers want to make another go of it this summer, the wording has changed, and it appears to be a variation of an older scam, but wearing new clothes. This reporter has seen at least five copies of this email spanning over a relatively short period of time. Other slightly varied subject lines included "Southwest: Confirmation of seating for [email address]", with a return email address of "Southwst Airlines".
It is never a good idea to click on links from emails, especially if you are unsure of the sender or they arrive in your spam folder. Often they are phishing for personal information. It's a good idea to keep in mind, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! If Southwest Airlines is giving away any tickets, it is definitely not through these emails.