Thousands fall for fake Emirates Instagram competition

It seemed too good to be true, and it was. Thousands of users of photo sharing website Instagram have been taken in by a fake competition to win a free flight to Dubai.

The promotion, purporting to be from airline Emirates, promised that the first 20,000 followers to the new Instagram account would win a free flight for two to Dubai.

The account had already amassed more than 10,000 followers, and, at time of publication, was following back 3011 Instagram users.

Under the hashtag "#emiratespromotion" there were close to 40,000 screenshots of the dream-worthy prize promise.

But Emirates has since confirmed that the account is a fake, telling The Vine, "Emirates Airline does not have an official Instagram account. Any Emirates-related accounts or promotions on Instagram do not belong to us".

The airline posted on its Facebook page that it has only three official social media channels, on Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.

It is, perhaps, unsurprising to learn that the airline will not be flying 40,000 people to Dubai free of charge.

The hoax is the latest in a series of online scams to hit airlines, with Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar all recently becoming the target of fake emails sent by so-called 'phishing' scammers. The emails purported to be booking or seat-selection confirmation mails and contained attachments with malware that could contain viruses or other software harmful to users' computers.

with Genevieve Rosen, The Vine.