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BBB: Beware 'Customer Survey' Scams Offering Free Gift Cards

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By Admin on January 07, 2015 10:42 AM

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.

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