Thousands fooled by fake Qantas first-class giveaway on Facebook

A fake Qantas Facebook page offering free first-class flights for the rest of the year has fooled thousands of people.

To win, all users had to do is like and share an image of a 'complimentary invitation' to Qantas' First Lounge.

Within 23 hours of the offer being posted, it received nearly 130,000 likes and had been shared more than 153,000 times.

Winners would apparently be notified on March 17 - giving users only one day to enter.

The dubiously-titled 'Qantas Airline' page -  which Qantas now reports has been removed by Facebook - accrued more than 8,400 likes on Facebook. The actual Qantas Facebook page has 623,000 likes.

"This is a scam and has nothing to do with Qantas," a spokesperson from Qantas said.

"Our campaigns are always run from our authenticated Facebook page identified by its authorised blue tick, or through the official Qantas website.

"Qantas has already had a number of the scam pages removed."

It's not the first time Facebook users have fallen for such a scam. Last year, a competition promoted by a fake Jetstar page, promised to give away 200 free airfares (five each for 40 people) and five-star accommodation for two weeks in Fiji, with $4500 in spending money.

The ploy worked, with the page receiving more than 18,000 'likes' from Facebook users in less than 24 hours.

The competition would cost the airline $180,000 in spending money alone on top of the airfare and accommodation costs.

The airline advised users to look at the tips found on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions SCAMWatch website.

The purpose of these fake pages is typically to engage in 'like farming' according to scam watchdog site

"The intention of these scammer like-farmers is to increase the value of the bogus Facebook Pages they create so that they can be sold on the black market to other scammers and/or used to market dubious products and services, and distribute further scams. The more likes a Page has, the more resale and marketing value it commands," the website states.

Airlines have become common targets for internet scams in recent years, with Australian airline brands being used in fake email itineraries aimed at spreading viruses and malware. Other airlines have also been targeted with fake accounts on Instagram.