WhatsApp, watch out for the RyanAir free tickets scam

A new scam is circulating on WhatsApp, hackers pretending to be the RyanAir airline promise two free tickets to steal user data

Immanent as the mosquitoes, the sultry heat and the desire to vacation and relax. With the approach of summer - for those who have not noticed, there is less than a month - the online scams of free airline tickets are back. This time - as it has already happened in the past - cyber criminals have targeted WhatsApp users.

In the last few days, in fact, a lot of Italian users are receiving a rather suspicious message about a one-time offer from RyanAir. The Irish low cost company, to celebrate its 34th year of activity, would give away two airline tickets with destination chosen by the user. All you have to do is click on the link in the message and follow the procedure to request two free RyanAir tickets. A technique already used in the past but that, evidently, has not lost its effectiveness: in a few hours the WhatsApp scam message seems to have already reaped hundreds of victims.

How the RyanAir tickets WhatsApp scam works

As you can easily deduce, the one just described is the most classic example of a phishing attack: the user is induced to click (or press, in the case of a WhatsApp message) on an apparently "legitimate" link, but that opens the doors of a good scam. As soon as you press on the link of the message, in fact, we will be redirected to a site identical to that of RyanAir, but managed by hackers. We will be asked to enter our personal information, including email address and smartphone number. This will allow cyber criminals to obtain information about us and activate, without our knowledge, a subscription to a rather expensive subscription news service.

The Irish airline, of course, said it was completely unaware of what is happening and that it is not linked in any way to the attempted scam. Stressing, moreover, that it is not its practice to give away airline tickets via WhatsApp.

How to defend yourself against WhatsApp scams

Although changing the type of "bait", WhatsApp scams always follow very similar and easily identifiable patterns and styles. First of all, we always check the grammar and syntax of these scam messages: they often contain errors or misplaced punctuation since they are generated with an online translator. We should also remember never to press lightly on links of dubious origin, they could redirect us to malicious sites or start the download of a malware. We should also contact our operator to deactivate subscription services on our SIM card, so we can avoid unpleasant surprises when we have to pay our cell phone bill at the end of the month.