The Instagram account SAS Scandinavian, @scandinavianairlines, promised two tickets to New York including 5 stars (sic) hotel to the first 20,000 people that followed the account. The account quickly attracted more than 14,000 followers.
Of course, this was not the official account of the Scandinavian airline, which can be found at @FLYSAS. Instead, the account soon changed name to @s0viknes and it belongs to, it seems, a young Norwegian guy who did this as a prank to get a lot of followers. He boasts: “follow this king who tricked them all”.
Note: I have cropped this photo because it seems the person in the photo was not the person behind the account.
As always, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. If SAS would give away 40,000 airline tickets that would cost about 44 million USD. Plus hotel rooms for 40,000 people. That’s just ridiculous. And you would think that the lousy English spelling would reveal that this was not an official account. Please think before you follow and share hoaxes like these.
And for brands, it is always wise to secure the most apparent versions of your brand name on popular social networks. At least that makes it a bit harder for others to use your brand to scam people.
Update: Several similar fake accounts have apparently appeared the last week. Via @AndersEriksson we can see a screen shot from the fake @emirates_dubai here: http://instagram.com/p/Vb9H-VNmYo/
And one account is pretending to be the Swedish cinema chain SF: @sfbioofficial. It says it will hand out 10,000 movie tickets to people who follow the account and add their email address in the comments to an image. More than 6,500 comments can be found so far, most of them include email addresses to teens and kids. And new comments are still being added every second as I blog this. The official account can be found at @SFBIO.
Parents, you need to have a talk with your kids about scams on Instagram. Found via @kingdeborg and @jonatanahlin on Twitter.
Update 2: The account @sfbioofficial changed name to @williammkarlsson, then reappeared with the first name with new followers and new images. @williammkarlsson is now gone, hopefully because it got reported as spam. The scam continues and new comments are added every minute. It seems that the account adds a new image now and then to attract new followers and commenters.