Free Flights Via Facebook: Bodacious Deal or Computer Virus In the current economic conditions, most people are being frugal and  cutting corners where they can.  You can even sign up for notifications on when your favorite companies are offering coupons or discounts!

So, when someone you know, like, and trust passes you a link for a great travel deal, you check it out, right??

I did just that yesterday when a relative posted a link on my Facebook wall: “Southwest is giving away free flights, but only for a limited time,” with a link to click.

Before you inwardly jump up and down with excitement and race toward to get on the plane, consider the following:

  • This relative is one for travel.
  • They often tap into good travel deals to go great places.
  • The individual had not previously passed along questionable online material.
  • I did not expect to get a totally free flight – But possibly a “friends fly free,” type deal.

So I clicked the link.

I was led to a page with an authentic-looking Southwest logo, and up popped the “Facebook connect” box which gives me the option of allowing or denying the connection.  I allowed it, as it appeared at first, to be a legitimate  request to initiate a promotion offered through the company on Facebook.  Southwest Airlines is a trusted company, so it seemed like a good decision.

Allowing the connection gives access to my contact information.

Once I watched the “Facebook connect,” I was led to a screen with another Southwest logo which told me that they were processing my available discounts, and it could take up to 30 seconds.  Very shortly after that, I was led to a screen with nothing but the words, “Your session has expired, click here to re-direct.”

I clicked the word link, and was led back to my Facebook profile.

There, I saw evidence of the same link I supposedly posted on several my friends’ Facebook profiles:

  • The posts were only made as responses to already existing conversation threads.
  • This seemed to occur on friends’ profiles where I most recently interacted.
  • Also affected were my Facebook friends with large numbers of friends themselves.

Socially horrifying and embarrassing!

How did remedy this?

  • I scrolled down my Facebook profile page to see which friends were affected.
  • I deleted each post by “me” that included the link on the other person’s Facebook profile (sometimes multiple times).
  • Those that “responded” to my posts, I advised them to delete all of their triggered posts and change their password.
  • I notified anyone that I saw was also triggering posts and told them to delete posts and change their account password (including my relative where this initiated for me).
  • I promised my friends and followers I would write this blog post.

This seemed to take care of the situation in my Facebook environment, and I have not seen additional links made in my circle of connections.

Was it a computer virus?

It seemed more like a scam to get my Facebook account information than a virus!

Do I hold anything against Southwest Airlines? No.

Moral of the story: It’s usually to good to be true.

Another moral of the story: Bar Rafaeli looks great on a jet!!

Has anyone experienced something similar on Facebook?  What did you do?  Are there steps I missed that you recommend?

Leave your comments below to help our Facebook friends!  🙂