Is this a scam? “American Airways” just sent me a check for $1,298

American Airways just sent me a check for $1,298. How generous of them. But hang on a second … American Airways?

OK, so technically they addressed it to Kari, my better half. But she remembers this post about US Airlines a few months ago, and thought she recognized the logo, and passed it along to me.

It looks like a real check. Well, almost.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines. The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

But just a minute. The top part says it’s not a check, but a check “voucher” and the memo says it “must be redeemed for travel certificate.” So, bad news, Kari: you can’t take this to the bank.

Fellow Orlando blogger Jessica Kirby thinks this is a scam, and says as much on her site. The folks behind the offer have apparently threatened her if she doesn’t remove her post. I’d like to see them try.

The BBB believes this is a phishing scam, which is intended to get personal information from you. It’s unclear what led it to that conclusion, but I share BBB’s suspicions. Something doesn’t look right about this.

Is there anyone who thinks this is for real? As a matter of fact, yes. A few weeks ago, a commenter on my US Airlines post declared that this was “a legitimate offer to market a legitimate service,” adding, “Duh!”

His name? Arthur Decco.

If you think there’s a guy out there named Arthur Decco, then you probably also can be persuaded that an airline like “US Airlines” or “American Airways” exists, and that it has cut you a check.

It is perhaps more than a little ironic that the real US Airways and American Airlines are probably going to announce a merger shortly. That could limit the effectiveness of this offer, although I suppose “United Airways” and “Delta Airways” could be used in a pinch. Don’t even bother changing the logo, fellas — it looks just fine the way it is now.

So it this a scam or not? I’m willing to give these people the benefit of the doubt, but I’ve gotta tell you, I’m having a hard time with this one. If it were a legitimate offer, then why use a fake airline name and send me a check “voucher” that almost looks like the real thing?

Makes me wonder what else they could be hiding.

Is the "American Airways" offer a scam?

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Update (3/2/13): From a reader —

I’m sure you’re already aware of this, but I just got an updated scam letter in the mail. Apparently they have updated themselves, preparing for US Air to go away after the merger. Their new scam airlines is “United Airways” with a generic airline-like logo next to it.

AND, the envelopes are hand written and the letter inside is hand signed (can feel the pen marks through the paper).

Thanks for the warning. So noted.

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