TORONTO — It’s a sign of the times that news services have taken to compiling lists of fake news items, in an effort to weed out the real stories from the not-so-real.
Wire news service The Associated Press says it’s dedicated to fact-checking misinformation that is shared widely online, and alerting users with roundups of fake news. Recently that roundup included WestJet.
Not that the airline had done anything wrong. On the contrary, AP was drawing attention to an online ticket scam involving WestJet that the airline has been pushing back against for years with consumer warning advisories and blog posts.
It’s the age-old Facebook-based free ticket scam, using WestJet’s branding.
“THE FACTS: WestJet Airlines is not giving out two free tickets to celebrate its birthday despite an offer circulating on social media,” says AP.
The scam asks users to fill out a survey to receive a pair of 332 remaining tickets. Afterward, users are asked to share the ad and type “Thanks for tickets #Westjet!” in the comments field. It then says users can click the ‘Claim Now’ button to enter their personal details.
The advertisement “is not a legitimate offer,” says WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell. Bell said more information about dealing with scams is available on the airline’s advisory page.
The ‘Not Real News’ roundup with the WestJet item came out in recent days but the scam has been circulating for years. “I don’t understand why Facebook allows these scammers to freely post their frauds,” says one post on WestJet’s advisory blog.
With files from The Associated Press