Phishing Airline Customers Made Easier

Recently I received an email from Southwest Airlines. There was a reward of $100 for completing a survey. It was a straightforward phishing attempt, but Southwest made it easier than it should have been for the criminals. Are you making it easy too?

Southwest Airlines Survey EmailI received an email survey today. Not surprising. Many companies send them out. This one was from Southwest Airlines, and it offered me a reward of $100 for completing their survey.

Except it wasn’t. I knew this immediately as I have never flown on Southwest Airlines.

This was a phishing email directing me to a plausible sounding survey website. The fraudsters hadn’t bothered to get a free SSL certificate for their plausible domain, perhaps because this can trigger alerts when the Certificate Transparency List is published.

So should I warn Southwest Airlines? I went to their website. Was their an email address or form to fill in to let them know about the website “” phishing their customers? No there wasn’t. Plenty of ways to report lost baggage, but no obvious way to report an issue to their security team - assuming they have one. I could have found out how long their customer service queues were by calling their 1-800 number and found out whether their customer service agents knew how to contact their security team, but I didn’t.

I’m neither a customer nor a shareholder, so in a literal sense it’s none of my business. I will do things that are easy to do if it helps makes society better. But I won’t put in a lot of effort to help a company that doesn’t make it easy to help them. I suspect I’m not alone in this.

if you care about people phishing your customers make it easy to report it: otherwise you will only hear about it very much later from disgruntled customers who believe you cheated them out of rewards, goods, or services.

28 February 2023

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