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Latest Facebook Scam: 2 Free Southwest Airlines Tickets

July 23, 2011
Personal Finance
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The Facebook world is all aflutter about the most recent attempt by scammers to separate you from your data: a promotion promises two free tickets on Southwest Airlines, but in reality is just another plot to gather your personal information.

A message displayed on users’ walls contains something like the following: “OMG I just got two free flight vouchers on southwest airlines! this is awesome! here’s the link.” The link takes those unfortunate enough to click on it to an app called “SW Gifts” which, when installed, can access users’ account information and post status updates or comments from their accounts. The user is then taken to a site that looks like Southwest’s, but is asked to log in with his Facebook account. He’s then shown the opt-in dialog box asking if the application can access his information and share it with third parties – the kind of thing that we see a thousand times but never actually read. He then sees a banner ad:

He is then asked to complete 13 sponsor offers in order before receiving the promotion. The offers beguile him into giving away his personal information, which is sure to result in a deluge of “promotional emails and special offers from trusted third parties.”

The scammers hacked into users’ Facebook accounts and used them to spread the links. Interestingly, instead of going the usual route of posting the links as status updates, they posted them as comments on friends’ walls to lend an air of credibility. If you’ve been taken in, this website explains what little recourse you have.