• BBB Tuesday Tips: Scam Alert: This Phony Holiday Survey Is After Your Personal Info

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    November 30, 2021
    BBB® Tuesday Tips
    Photo Courtesy of Getty Images


    Don't Fall for This

    Holiday Survey Scam

    Scoring a great deal during the holidays is exciting. Unfortunately, con artists are using that same feeling of excitement to lure shoppers into scams. These text messages and fake surveys can steal valuable information from unsuspecting victims.

     How the scam works

    Scammers send you a text message that appears to be from a well-known chain store. As part of a holiday deal, the “store” is offering a free product, discount, or gift card to anyone who completes a short questionnaire or survey. Of course, they explain, this is a limited time offer so you’ll need to act fast if you want to receive your gift.
    If you click the link, you won’t go to the store’s official website. Instead, it will take you to a third-party website where you’ll be asked to fill out a form that asks you for personal information, such as your full name, address, email, and more. By clicking on the link, you may even download malware onto your device, giving scammers access to even more personal information. Watch out for similar survey scams this entire holiday season.

     How to avoid fake survey scams:

    • Know the signs of a phony text message. Unsolicited text messages are usually not from trustworthy sources. Reputable businesses will get your permission to send you a text before sending anything to your inbox. Fake texts often contain suspicious-looking links and contain typos and other errors too.
    • Watch out for rewards that sound too good to be true. Remember that legitimate businesses run surveys to understand their customers. They may offer a modest discount to encourage participation, but the reward is not the focus. If someone offers you a valuable product or gift card in exchange for completing a two-minute survey, it’s probably a scam.
    • Limited time offers could be a red flag. Scammers often use a sense of urgency to get their victims to hand over valuable information without thinking. If a text message says something like, “If you complete this survey in the next 10 minutes…,” don’t let yourself be pushed into action without really examining the message first.
    • Remember that scammers conceal their identity. Many scam surveys are very vague about their purpose and who is running them. If you can’t figure out who or where the survey is coming from, don’t take it.
    • Do some research. If you aren’t sure about a survey, do an internet search to find out more information. Look for links to the survey on a business’s official website. You can also do a search using the survey name and the word “scam” to see if there are any reports about it being a fake.
    Additional information
    Visit BBB's new Spot a Scam page to familiarize yourself with common tactics and learn the signs of a fake survey
    If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.
    BBB of Northwest Florida
    912 E. Gadsden Street
    Pensacola, FL 32501
    Tammy Ward, Communications Director
    tammy@nwfl.bbb.org, (850) 429-0002