Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Alaska Airline is NOT Celebrating Their 87th Anniversary by Gifting 2 Free Tickets to Everyone

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 03 Apr 2019 23:11:08 Z)

Is Alaska Airline giving 2 free tickets to everyond for their 87th anniversary? No, that's not true: a scam site is trying to steal people's personal information by pretending to take a survey in exchange for free airline tickets and then sending them on to various dodgy websites. It also gets the spelling of the airline wrong, it is Alaska Airlines, not "Airline".

An example of the scam can be seen here (archived here), where it reads:

You have been selected to take part in our short survey to get 2 Free Alaska Airline Tickets! We only have 332 Tickets remaining so hurry up!

Screenshot of http://alaska.com-airuz.com/?PY7GbAl

The site is part of a larger network of scam websites that all operate in the same manner. First three questions are asked, typically asking if you are satisified with some brand, if you have used their product or if you would recommend it to others. Three possible answers are offered each time "Yes", "No" or "Don't remember".

No matter what answers are given, visitors are redirected to a screen that looks like this, inviting them to share and like the page on Facebook to claim the prize:


The comment form at the bottom is also fake: comments are automatically appearing but they do not come from real people, the whole thing is scripted: if the page is reloaded the same comments start appearing again. Clicking the share button does bring up a real share popup from Facebook but it does not share the exact URL of the page: it varies the random-looking string of letters and numbers at the end so that to Facebook it will look like a new and different article that is being shared. This makes it harder to detect and do something about it because each individual link needs to be individually reported and taken down.

Clicking the like button takes people through a series of redirects via various pages, probably depending on which ads or scams the people behind the site need to promote at the time. But no prize will show up at your door in the end.

The scammers behind the site regularily launch new sites targeting different brands and businesses but they all look similar. An earlier version we spotted was aimed at Dunkin' Donuts and another one at Little Caesars.

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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