Email Surveys a Path to ID Theft, Warns Better Business Bureau

CHICAGO, IL – Looking to earn easy or much needed cash, consumers are falling victim to email survey scams. It is the latest online method that scammers are using to steal personal and financial information from their victims. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning that people need to be aware of these fraudulent surveys because they have the capability of stealing banking and credit card information. Some links even download malware into computers.

“These types of scams can be tricky because they appear to be from legitimate businesses,” says Steve J. Bernas president, and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It’s very important to take a careful look at these emails before clicking on links or completing one of their surveys.”

Often the survey websites make claims of paying exorbitant amounts of money for participating. “Earn $150 a day or they carry tempting subject lines such as – Your Reward Points are Expiring…Claim Now! Additionally, recipients of the emails are enticed to complete the survey to win a gift card,” noted Bernas.

A recent Scambusters Report stated there are legitimate online survey companies. However, they are not easy to find nor do they pay large sums for taking the surveys. Also the report states “the survey generally requires participants to invest a great deal of time.”

Here are ways to spot a survey email scam:

  • The email claims to have information about you but you never signed up for it. Scams often pretend to be personalized for you but they are actually blast emails. Don’t fall for this! If you never signed up for emails from a company, you shouldn’t be receiving them.
  • Pushes you to act immediately. Scammers typically try to push you into action before you have had time to think. Always be wary of emails urging you to act immediately or face a consequence.
  • Watch for typos, strange phrasing and bad grammar. Scammers can easily copy a brand’s logo and email format but awkward wording and poor grammar are typically a giveaway that the message is a scam.
  • Hover over URLs to reveal their true destination. Typically, the hyperlinked text will say one thing but the link will point somewhere else. Make sure the links actually lead to the business’ official website, not a variation of the domain name.

For more information on scams, visit www.bbb.org/chicago, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or add us on Pinterest.