Free Airline Tickets: Scams, Rackets and Rip-offs

But let's check out some potentially dangerous scams, like email phishing.

There's a good chance you've received one of these innocent-looking emails but don't be fooled: they usually want to separate you from your money. Some ask for credit card numbers; those intent on identity theft request Social Security numbers while still others hope to spread viruses by having you unwittingly click a link that starts a plague.

Sometimes famous names are roped into air travel scams. The rumor-busting site Snopes.com reported on an Oprah-related email scheme promising a chance at a million bucks if you'll only fork over personal info plus buy a couple of American Airlines tickets that can only be purchased via the people who emailed you. Would Oprah do this? She would not. It's fraud, pure and simple. Don't ever provide credit or personal data or click links in emails you don't recognize.

Airlines such as American, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways have warned about phishing scams for years now but these rackets are still around because people still fall for them. Use your common sense: For example, if you get an email saying you booked a flight and you must click a link to confirm but you know you didn't book a flight, hit delete. Or give the airline a quick call. If an email says it's from American Airlines check to see if the return address ends in "aa.com". Even if it does but the communication sounds the least bit fishy, leave it alone.

Unfortunately some of us don't give our common sense enough exercise which explains why those Nigerian email specialists continue to thrive DESPITE THEIR FONDNESS FOR TEXT IN ALL CAPS. Yes, another red flag.

Don't believe everything you hear, either. Whenever there's a story in the news about a baby born during a flight, I can't tell you how many people say to me, "Lucky, kid! They get free flights for life, right?" Wrong. Airlines I've talked to deny this and the folks at Snopes knocked down this decades-old rumor rather convincingly.

Hang on a minute! It seems a little boy born aboard AirAsia back in the fall of 2009 was awarded free-flights-for-life. His mom, too. Which means this is one rumor that'll never die. It also leaves me wondering: What the odds are of giving birth on a plane?

The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.

READ: It's a Boy! Baby Born On Delta Flight

READ: Baby Born In-Flight Named for Attendant

READ: Woman Gives Birth on Southwest Flight

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