Word to the Wise: Customer survey scam lures victims with gift card

July 14, 2014 

We have all seen the ads, “Take our short survey and receive a $50 gift card!” Offers like this claim to be gathering customer feedback for legitimate businesses, however many may really be promoting spammy products or be after your personal information.

This scam begins when you receive an email or a text message inviting you to complete a customer satisfaction survey. The message says all you need to do is answer a few questions, and you will receive a gift card. The survey seems normal. One recent scam posing as an Amazon.com survey, asks where you shop online, how often you visit the website and how much time you spend on the Internet each day.

After you complete the survey, the site says you are now entitled to your prize. Unfortunately, the $50 gift card is “out of stock,” so you are instructed to choose one of several dubious products, often something like a weight loss kit and wrinkle cream. The survey was just an elaborate hoax to promote these products.

In another version of this scam, the customer survey asks for personal information, such as address and credit card number. In this scam, con artists are really after information that can be used for identity theft.

How to Spot a Customer Survey Scam:

• Don’t believe what you see. It’s easy to steal the colors, logos and header of an established organization. Scammers can also make links look like they lead to legitimate websites and emails appear to come from a different sender.

• Legitimate businesses do not ask for credit card numbers or banking information on customer surveys. If they do ask for personal information, like an address or email, be sure there’s a link to their privacy policy and then read it to see how they plan to use your information.

• When in doubt, do a quick web search. If the survey is a scam, you may find alerts or complaints from other consumers. The organization’s real website may also have further information.

• Watch out for a reward that’s too good to be true. If the survey is real, you may be entered in a drawing to win a gift card or receive a small discount off your next purchase. Few businesses can afford to give away $50 gift cards for completing a few questions.

For more tips, visit bbb.org.

Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia and the CSRA Inc.. Questions or complaints should be referred directly to the BBB at 478-742-7999, www.bbb.org or by emailing info@centralgeorgia.bbb.org.

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