Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers to beware of a scam that claims to be an online satisfaction survey from the retailing giant Wal-Mart, but instead is an attempt to steal personal credit information.
The scheme, which first became public two years ago, has recently been sent to consumers and businesses in the Midwest in recent days. It announces in an e-mail that “you have been selected to access the Wal-Mart 2 Step Survey and win a $150.00 gift certificate.” A link then takes the recipient to a nine-question survey called “How do we rate?” A second page asks for such information as Social Security number, credit card number, a three-digit card verification number and the name of the bank issuing the card. BBB President Jim Hegarty stated, “It is a sick trick, pure and simple, although it has every appearance of being legitimate.”
A business owner that received this email said, “It looks like Wal-Mart and it’s very professionally done. It looks credible. The request for personal and credit information sounded warning signals, but these scammers are going to get somebody.”
A company spokesperson for Wal-Mart told BBB that her company never asks for credit card details or Social Security numbers as part of its survey forms. She also said company surveys require that a customer enter a number from a Wal-Mart receipt. She asked that anyone receiving a bogus survey forward it to email@example.com.
BBB offers the following advice to consumers hoping to avoid online scams:
Don’t fall for offers promising a significant cash payout or credit for taking a simple survey. If something looks too good to be true, it likely is.
Do not, under any circumstances, give personal detailed credit information to anyone until you have verified who will be using the information and how it will be used.
- Don’t be fooled by the appearance of an e-mail or website. Thieves have become very sophisticated in their ability to replicate sites, even providing direct links to a company’s history, departments and contact information.
If you feel you may be the victim of a scam, contact BBB at www.bbb.org or 800-649-6814.