Businesses enjoy receiving customer feedback, and they encourage consumers to post reviews online. But steer clear of fake offers promising you gift cards in exchange for taking a quick customer survey.
These scams can appear via email or social media post, urging you to claim a free voucher or gift card just by taking a simple survey. It sounds easy—but don’t do it! There are a variety of tricks behind these scams. The link often leads to a real survey but upon completion, the gift card happens to be “out of stock” and all that remains are “free” samples of fake products, such as diet pills or anti-aging makeup. Other times, the link is actually a phishing scam that requests banking or credit card information. But clicking on the link can also download malware onto the computer that can be used to access and steal passwords and other critical information.
Many businesses offer discounts in exchange for customer feedback. It can be difficult to spot a real offer from a fake one. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) provides tips on how to spot these fake voucher scams to help consumers avoid falling for them.
• Research the website or link on the WhoIs.net directory. Copy and paste the link address into the directory, and it will tell you when and to whom a domain is registered. Brand new URLs or ownership masked by a proxy service are big warning signs of a scam.
• Watch out for look-alike URLs. Scammers pick URLs that look very similar to those of legitimate sites but with minor changes. Sometimes, it is as simple as swapping two letters around in the URL which could easily go unnoticed. Be wary of sites that have the brand name as a subdomain of another URL (i.e. brandname.scamwebsite.com), part of a longer URL (i.e. companynamebooking.com) or use an unconventional top level domain (the TLD is the part of the name after the dot).
• If the deal sounds “too good to be true,” it is probably a scam. Legitimate businesses may enter you in a drawing to win a gift card or offer a small discount off your next purchase. Few businesses give away $100 gift cards just for answering a few questions.
For more tips and to find out more about other scams, go to bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222. Don’t forget to look for the seal for businesses you can trust!