A Facebook page promises a year's free public transport travel but victims will be left stranded. Image by Wayne Taylor/AAP PHOTOS

‘Free travel’ posts take victims for a ride

Meg Williams January 30, 2024

The Auckland Transport (AT) Facebook page is offering cheap travel cards that will give passengers one year of free travel.


False. The page has no connection to AT and the offer does not exist.

A Facebook page posing as Auckland’s public transport agency is claiming to offer a year of free travel to people who buy an unbelievably cheap pre-paid card.

This offer is false. Auckland Transport (AT) told AAP FactCheck it has no connection to the page and that there is no such offer.

The posts (one example archived here) are on a fake “Auckland Transport” Facebook page that was created on January 23, 2024.

The fake page is listed as a “cargo & freight company” and uses the same cover photo as the genuine Auckland Transport (AT) Facebook page

The genuine AT page is listed under Facebook’s “travel & transport” category.

The fake posts invite people to purchase an AT HOP prepaid travel card for just $4.18 and use it to travel free for a year (see here, here, and here, archived here, here, and here).

Facebook post
 The deal is certainly too good to be true. 

A genuine AT HOP card costs $5 and must be loaded with additional credit before travel is possible.

The posts urge readers to click the “Apply” button, which takes them to a website (screenshot here) that asks for personal information. 

The site claims travel cards are being given away free, rather than being sold cheaply.

AT’s social media manager Blake Crayton-Brown told AAP FactCheck that AT has seen two Facebook pages offering a year’s travel on public transport for only a few dollars.

“These pages are outright scams and are trying to gain access to people’s credit card details,” Mr Crayton-Brown said in an emailed response.

“It’s really disappointing that people are being targeted like this at a time of year when people are watching their budgets ahead of heading back to work and school.”

 Residents and visitors to Wellington are also being targeted.  

Radio New Zealand reported a similar scam circulating on social media, using capital city Wellington’s Metlink Snapper cards. Metlink has addressed the scams on social media.

AAP FactCheck has previously debunked other scam promotions claiming to offer cheap coffee machines from Bunnings, $5 speakers from JB Hi-Fi, and $3 lost luggage from Wellington Airport.


Treat posts appealing for help to find lost or found people or pets, offering extremely cheap or free products and services with caution if they include more than one of the following features:

* The person encourages everyone to share their post widely.

* They don’t provide their contact details or they ask people to send them a DM or PM (direct message or private message).

* The post includes only very vague details about the location of the person or pet, or the giveaway.

* The account of the person posting is less than a year old, has no profile picture, has very few friends, or isn’t located in the same area as the subject of their post. This indicates the account is fake.

* You can’t comment on the post because comments are disabled. This is done to stop people from warning others that it’s a scam.

The Verdict

The claim that the Auckland Transport (AT) Facebook page is offering cheap travel cards that will give passengers one year of free travel is false. 

An AT representative confirmed the Facebook account behind the offer is fake. No such offer exists.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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