Beware of Virgin flights scam offering free ‘anniversary’ tickets

Apr 06, 2018
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It’s an oldie, but it keeps suckering keen wannabe travellers, so it’s worth looking out for.

Every now and then, a scam emerges around Virgin flights, usually offering tickets if you fill in a survey or click on a link. The latest version is being passed around on popular, free messaging service WhatsApp, supposedly to celebrate the carrier’s “35th anniversary”.

The Sun reports that recipients on WhatsApp are offered two free tickets on a Virgin Atlantic flight in return for clicking on a link that appears to go to the airline’s site. Doing so, however, will allow fraudsters access to your personal information.

Eagle-eyed scam spotters will notice that the letter ‘r’ in the world virgin in the site URL provided by the scammers has a dot below it, as is possible to type on some non-English language keyboards. The legitimate Virgin Atlantic site doesn’t contain such a letter.

Virgin Atlantic told The Sun that any competitions it ran would always be posted on the company’s verified social media accounts – which you can identify because the accounts have the blue tick that identifies them as verified – rather than being directed at individuals via messaging systems.

It’s far from the first time Virgin’s been targeted in this way, and Virgin Australia’s site carries a warning that fake internet surveys purporting to be from the carrier were circulating as emails – again, promising free flights in return for personal information. 

If you’re the recipient of one of these emails or the new WhatsApp scam, you can report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch site here.

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Have you received one of these messages? Or encountered another travel-related scam?

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