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Scam safety: How to spot a sneaky survey scam
Check out our guide to learn what survey scams are, what they look like, and how to avoid them.By Trust and Safety 1 September 2023
Surveys are a valuable source of feedback for companies, and many like to reward their customers for participating in them.
Sadly, surveys can also be a way to disguise scams.
Survey scams typically impersonate large, well-known companies. They pretend you’ve been randomly selected to fill out a quick survey for a prize.
A real life example of a survey scam.
What do they look like?
- The survey will ask you for some basic questions to appear legitimate.
- They'll offer a reward for completing their survey.
- They’ll lure you with something valuable, such as an iPhone or cash reward.
- To claim the reward, they'll usually ask for your shipping information and credit card details to "pay for shipping".
Bear in mind that many businesses send out legitimate surveys. Always be conscious about what information they're asking for, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Emails from Trade Me only ever end in '@trademe.co.nz' and '@email.trademe.co.nz'. If it's not one of these, it's not us.
Once scammers have this information, they can:
- Charge your credit card.
- Sell your information to other cybercriminals.
- Use your personal information to steal your identity.
- Gain access to your online accounts and passwords.
These scammers tend to have ‘keystroke loggers’ that can still record what you’ve entered into their site, even if you leave the page.
How you can keep safe online:
The website the scammer takes you to may download ‘malware’ (malicious software) onto your device.
- Use a reputable and secure browser, like Chrome, Safari, Edge or Firefox.
- And make sure automatic updates are enabled.
- Only use secure internet connections.
Make sure your device's operating system is up-to-date, and only use a currently supported system (e.g. Windows 11, macOS Ventura 13.5). Even better, enable automatic system updates.
If you think you might have been scammed
- If you've entered your credit card details, advise your bank and cancel your credit card. If you’ve spotted any unauthorised charges, request a chargeback from your bank.
- Report it to CERT NZ.
- If you’ve entered personal details, check out this resource about identity theft.
Remember that anyone can be a victim, and it's never the victim's fault. Scammers are experts in tricking people, and are getting more sophisticated every day. Never feel ashamed to ask for help.