It’s a classic case of look before you click—fake airline Instagram accounts continue to dupe hopeful travelers with offers of free tickets and amazing rewards. Though the consequences are not so dire (you’ll just be the butt of your deal-savvy Instagram followers’ jokes), you’ll want to avoid getting caught in the web.
Last year, airlines from British Airways to Delta to American Airlines were plagued by fakers offering free tickets to the first several thousand new followers who tagged them in a post. Airlines are now hyperaware of such scams, and are quick to have the users removed. Still, the trend that seemed to hit an all-time high in November is still circulating amongst users. Screenshots instructing travelers to repost and tag the fake airline became especially prevalent across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook again this week.
Luckily, you don’t have to fall prey. Taking a moment to double check the validity of the account will save you one very sheepish apology to your followers in the future. On Twitter, it’s as simple as a little blue check mark; all major airlines should have verified accounts, proving that it’s really them doing the tweeting. (These accounts will also tip you off to any faux affiliates that might be tempting you). Though Instagram lacks that clear a verification method, there are clues to tip you off to a fake account—misspellings, sketchy links, and unwieldy usernames are all dead giveaways.
Following the verified accounts of major airlines can actually be a great way to hear about a deal (or even solve a flight woe, in the case of Delta Assist and others), so don’t hesitate to connect. Just remember—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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Photo credits: Screen grabs via Instagram