New scam Alert: Survey and “free gift.”
A few of our customer have recently been exposed to online scams claiming to be from Direct Communications.
Customers reportedly see a ‘pop-up’ type message in their browser posing as Direct Communications, asking the customer to participate in survey and at the end they receive a “free gift”.
At the end of the survey the customer is then asked to supply a credit card for shipping and handling of “free gift”.
BEWARE: This is not from Direct Communications!
“Free gift” + credit card = SCAM
Below are some related on-line articles about this scam.
BBB: Beware ‘Customer Survey’ Scams Offering Free Gift Cards
Consumers are being warned by the Better Business Bureau about a new scam involving an online survey that promises takers a free gift card.
According to the BBB, official-looking posts sent by email or appearing on social media encourage consumers to claim a free gift card to a major retailer such as Walmart. All the consumers have to do in order to receive the card, according to the message, is complete a customer satisfaction survey.
Unfortunately, consumers who attempt to complete the survey may end up the victims of identity theft.
Survey Requests Personal Information
The surveys reportedly begin with seemingly legitimate questions about how often a consumer shops at the store or rates a particular website. But consumers who reach the end of the survey report that the promised gift card doesn’t exist. Instead, consumers are offered discounts on suspicious services or junk products.
In a more nefarious version of the scam, consumers have reported that the survey requests personal information such as credit card numbers or a consumer’s home address. Consumers who unwittingly provide this information may be providing scammers the information they need to access financial accounts or apply for fraudulent credit cards or loans in the consumer’s name.
How Can You Tell If a Survey Is a Scam?
The BBB has a few tips on how to avoid scam surveys. These include:
- Don’t trust your eyes. It’s easy for scammers to design an email or social media post to look like it’s official by stealing the logos, fonts, and colors of an established company.
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Getting a $100 gift card for answering a couple easy questions sounds like a spectacular deal, right? Maybe… too spectacular? If an offer seems suspiciously generous, that may be a red flag that it’s a scam.
- Do a Web search. If you’re not sure whether you’re being tricked into something that may be a scam, often a quick Web search can reveal information about potential scams. For example, Walmart has posted an alert regarding survey scams on the company’s own website.
Find more tips for avoiding identity theft and online fraud at FindLaw’s section on Online Scams.
- Fake USPS Email Scam Claims Parcel Can’t Be Delivered (FindLaw’s Common Law)
- How Do Mystery Shopper Scams Work? (FindLaw’s Common Law)
- Warning: Social Security ‘New Benefit’ Email Is a Scam (FindLaw’s Common Law)
- Legal How-To: Dealing With Debit Card Fraud (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life)
Beware of scam surveys and fake free offers
September 2013: SCAMwatch is reminding people to beware of online scams – surveys, emails and social-media posts – offering fake gift vouchers or other bogus inducements in return for disclosing credit card and other personal information.
While many online surveys are legitimate and may be backed by some reward, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Woolworths continue to receive complaints about possible scams misusing the Woolworths name and logo, going under such titles as ‘Get a free $50 Woolworths voucher’ or ‘Customer Satisfaction Survey’.
Scams such as these often ask people to provide credit card or other personal details, which criminals can use to commit identity theft and other fraud.
Woolworths is advising people that all its official competitions are listed at www.woolworths.com.au on its Promotions and Competitions page.
How these scams work
- These scams abuse the brand names and logos of well-known companies and products to make them look legitimate.
- As with many legitimate offers and online posts, you might be asked to complete a survey and/ or pass on an offer to others before you can claim a voucher or other inducement or enter a competition. But the scams will take your valuable information and give you only disappointment in return – the products don’t arrive or the vouchers are fakes and the retailers won’t honour them.
- Recent scams have related to supermarkets, coffee shops, smart phones and tablets, including offers featured on Facebook.
Sharon was checking her Facebook page and found her sister had ‘liked’ a link to a Woolworths survey which offered a $150 voucher for a five minute survey. Sharon completed the questions, filled in personal details at the end (she was a Woolworths online customer so figured they already had her details anyway) and received the voucher in her email. Sharon went into Woolworths to do her grocery shopping only to discover at the checkout that it was a fake. When she went home she was shocked to discover unauthorised transactions on her credit card.
- Be very wary when, for example, filling in surveys linked from social networking sites – being asked to provide such detailed information as Medicare numbers or credit-card security codes should ring alarm bells.
- You should check whenever you can whether offers are legitimate, even those passed on from people you know. If the offers are represented as coming directly from a particular retailer, check they are listed on the retailers’ official websites – or call a business’ official customer-service line. Don’t click on links or call numbers listed in the offers – they can link to fake websites and even fake call centres.
- If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.
For more information on this particular scam, check out the Woolworths Scam Alert at http://www.woolworths.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/website/woolworths/about+us/woolworths-news/scamalert.
Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter or visit http://twitter.com/SCAMwatch_gov