No, Delta isn’t giving away free flights on Instagram

Don’t start packing your bags yet, Instagrammers—this one is definitely a hoax.

Posing as Delta Airlines, the @Delta.Airline Instagram account has promised free airline tickets to the first 20,000 Instagram user who follow the account and post a screenshot of its profile. After posting just one photo on Wednesday, @Delta.Airline racked up more than 15,000 followers in one day, which is more than 33 percent as many followers as Delta’s actual 2-year-old account, @Delta.

Delta spokesman Paul Skrbec confirmed in an email to the Daily Dot that the account does not belong to Delta, and said that all of Delta’s official social media accounts can be found on this webpage. Only one Instagram account is listed on that page, and it’s not @Delta.Airline.

“Because Delta is not the source of the fraudulent activity reported, we cannot speculate on the nature of the account providing this misinformation,” Skrbec said. “Delta’s information security team is continuing to monitor the situation.”

The @Delta.Airline account has many of the hallmarks of a successful social media hoax. First and foremost, it promises to give something desirable away. What Instagrammer doesn’t love to make his or her followers jealous by posting awesome vacation photos?

Also, the scam has a built-in mechanism to spread itself. By asking users to post a photo of the account’s profile, everyone who takes the bait will be essentially advertising the scam to their own followers.

Be a good citizen of the social web and spread the word. Friends don’t let friends post hoaxes.

Update: The @Delta.Airline Instagram account is no longer visible. Instagram likely closed the account due to a violation of its terms of service. The account had more than 16,500 followers at last count.

Photo via allenthepostman/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Fran Berkman

Fran Berkman

Fran Berkman is a technology reporter whose work for the Daily Dot focused on cryptocurrencies and internet freedom. In April 2017, he joined BuzzFeed as the deputy director of news curation.