Warning! This promotion is fake. Emirates is NOT offering free tickets

Warning! This promotion is fake. Emirates is NOT offering free tickets

Airline warns residents against fraudulent promotions.


Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Published: Thu 27 Oct 2016, 1:34 PM

Last updated: Thu 27 Oct 2016, 5:28 PM

Emirates airline is warning that it will take "appropriate legal action" against those promoting fraudulent competitions and prizes that have nothing to do with the airline.

The latest variation of the hoax - which was shared widely on UAE social media - took users to a fake website which promised to give away 259 tickets to those who take part in a brief survey. Recent WhatsApp messages noted that the promotion was being held to mark the 30th anniversary of Emirates - even though Emirates was celebrating its 31st anniversary on Tuesday.

"Emirates have become aware of fraudulent emails and SMS/WhatsApp messages purporting to come from Emirates that contain links to a website claiming to offer free airline tickets to those who take an on-like survey," an Emirates spokesperson told Khaleej Times.

"We advise anyone who receives this message not to click on any links or onward forward the message through social media."

"Emirates is investigating the source of the scam and will take appropriate legal action against the perpetrators," the spokesperson added.

Other versions of the scam, from something calling itself "Emirates Air", have been popping up periodically since at least September of last year. In those, users are promised a chance to win a number of first-class tickets, along with thousands of dollars in spending money, if they merely sign up to a Facebook page.

Emirates is not the only airline to face such issues. Other scams have used the names of British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta and Qantas to dupe gullible Internet users.

In early 2013, another social media scam, this time using the names "EmiratesPromotions" and "EtihadPromotions" and using the airline's logos on Instagram, promised that the first 20,000 people to follow the page would receive free economy-class tickets to Dubai.

Thousands of people reportedly followed the page before the airlines made statements. At the time, neither Emirates nor Etihad had official Instagram handles.

Hoax Slayer, a popular Internet site dedicated to debunking Internet and e-mail hoaxes and scams, notes that survey scams - such as the recent Emirates one - are used to entice people to give away their personal information on shady third-party websites.

In most cases, once the survey is taken, the user is asked to share the promotion with friends. To redeem the 'prize', people are asked to take more surveys, and the information is often passed to online marketing firms, who spam people with even more junk messages. Scammers earn commissions each time a person enters their personal details.

Other versions of such incidents include "like-farming" scams, in which a page artificially attempts to increase its popularity.

Once a page has accumulated thousands of likes - thereby increasing its value - the unscrupulous "like-farmers" use the page to market questionable services and products, trick people into taking surveys, or even sell the page to other scam artists on the black market. "Like Farming" scams are increasingly common on Facebook.

Aside from targeting airlines, in the last year Hoax Slayer has detected similar hoaxes promising the chance to win items including iPhones, a $30,000 diamond ring from Tiffany&Co as well as a Range Rover and tickets on a Carnival cruise.

In one particularly notable incident, scammers promised to give away a luxury villa in the Spanish coastal town of Marbella, using an image of a villa in Cyprus which had been stolen from a booking website.


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