Scam Alert: Two Complimentary Round-Trip Tickets on American Airlines

The view of the first class cabin at night on a new Boeing 777-300ER operated by American Airlines on the launch flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to São Paulo at the end of January of 2013. This was, thankfully, NOT a scam. Photograph by FlyerTalk member jspira. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by jspira.

FlyerTalk member PJC01 reports having received a letter from a purported vice president of American Airlines named Joy Cass, stating that they have attempted to contact PJC01 about an award of two round-trip airline tickets but have been unable to get through.

They want PJC01 to call by May 15, 2013 to accept these “award tickets.”

The letter was postmarked from Phoenix.

FlyerTalk members wasted no time in alerting PJC01 that the letter is indeed a scam — and PJC01 reported soon after that two friends received a similar letter.

If the letter was delivered by the United States Postal Service, FlyerTalk member RogerD408 advises reporting it, as “Postal Inspectors are quite eager to prosecute fraud.”

FlyerTalk member Often1 advises that “The easy thing to do — whether relating to air travel or not — is to call the customer service # for the vendor (not the # in the email) and ask. Don’t click on anything and don’t call the # in the email.”

However, FlyerTalk member Osteomata has a different perspective: “Allow me to be the lone dissenter: it’s not necessarily a scam. It is probably a limited utility offer associated with a vacation club/time share type organization. Essentially, the vacation club/time share group has subcontracted out marketing to another organization, which then sends you the offers, and when you call to ask about how to collect they explain that you have to attend a VC/TS sales pitch to recieve them. The VC/TS is, like most of those organizations, a bad investment but is not really a fraud/scam. The free tickets are likely to be real, though they may have all kinds of limiting factors that make them useless to you.”

Whatever is the truth of the reason for the solicitation, free airline tickets do not simply come from “out of the blue” — especially these days when capacity has been reduced overall and frequent fliers are having a more difficult time securing award tickets.

Fraudulently “awarding” a recipient free airline tickets is certainly not a new scam. In October of 2011, Delta Air Lines had officially verified that an offer for two free round-trip airline tickets was indeed a scam.

One month later, FlyerTalk member joshwex90 reported another possible scam involving American Airlines via e-mail message.

It is very easy these days to use graphics to create a letter or e-mail message which appears to be legitimate and official. Never respond to an e-mail message or letter pertaining to a claim that you won something without official verification from a legitimate source. The last thing you want to do is alert a potential scammer that you exist — possibly opening the floodgates to future solicitations from other scammers and “spammers.”

Although rare, an offer can be legitimate. For your protection, treat every offer you receive with a healthy dose of skepticism. As FlyerTalk member austin_modern posts, “….if it sounds too good to be true….”

I wonder if the first name of the husband of Joy Cass is Jack…

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