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Issue 137 - August 2012 (2nd Edition) - Page 18

'Free Apple Product' Text Message Survey Scam

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Outline
Mobile phone text message claims that the recipient has won a free Apple product and should follow a link and enter a code to claim the prize.



Brief Analysis
The claim that the recipient has won a prize is untrue. The message is an attempt to trick users into divulging their personal information and subscribing to expensive SMS services by participating in suspect online surveys.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: August 7, 2012
First published: August 7, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Apple Products Text Survey Scam




Detailed Analysis
This unsolicited text message was delivered to my iPhone. According to the message, my phone number has made me an "Apple Winner". And to claim my free Apple Product, all I need do is follow the link in the text message and enter a specified code number.

But, the claims in the message are lies and I have, in fact, won nothing at all. Following the link opens a prize verification page as shown in the following screenshot:

Apple Text Message Survey Scam

After entering my code number I was then taken to a further "prize" page and asked to complete a brief survey. After completing the survey, I was told that I was now eligible to win an iPad so long as I entered my mobile phone number as shown in this screenshot:

Mobile Number entry screen

But, fine print on the page informs users that by entering their phone number they are actually subscribing to an ongoing SMS subscription service that will be billed at $6 per text. Those who enter their number and continue, will be taken to various other survey pages and asked to supply even more contact information, ostensibly to go in the running for further prizes. But, regardless of how many surveys that users participate in, they will never receive the promised prizes. Such survey scam messages are commonly distributed via Facebook and email as well as via text message.

The people who set up these scams earn a commission via a dubious affiliate marketing system each and every time someone completes an "offer" or "survey". While affiliate marketing is a legitimate method of conducting business online, some participants are more than willing to use reprehensible and underhand tactics to increase profits, including the offer of non-existent gifts or prizes via survey scam messages. The offer of a free prize or gift is the bait used to entice people into following the spam link. Victims who fall for the ruse and participate may be faced with large phone bills for unwanted mobile phone services along with unwanted promotional emails, phone calls and junk mail.

This text message version users a web address that includes the word "apple" in an attempt to make the offer seem like it comes directly from Apple. In fact, the message has no connection with the company whatsoever. Furthermore, the claim that the winner must enter a special code contained in the text message to claim the prize is just another ruse to make the offer seem more legitimate. In fact, any string of numbers or letters will be accepted by the code "verification" form.

If you receive one of these survey scams, do not follow any links that it contains. Don't be fooled. You have NOT won a prize and entering any of the online surveys that the link leads to will NOT allow you to receive a free Apple product or anything else of value.

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References

What is a Facebook Survey Scam? - Survey Scams Explained


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Issue 137 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Anti Text-Driving Message - Car Wedged Under Truck Image
  2. Nationwide Phishing Scam Emails
  3. Faux Image - Double Sunset on Mars
  4. Microsoft Cyber-Crime Department Phishing Scam
  5. Does A Photo Depict A Puppy Being Forced to Drink Vodka?
  6. Post Circulating Claims Hotel Made Disabled US Veteran Crawl Down Stairs
  7. AFL vs NRL - Wrongdoings of Australian Members of Parliament Hoax
  8. Three.co.uk Phishing Scam
  9. Another Facebook Sick Baby Hoax - Baby With Brain Cancer
  10. Circulating Opinion Piece - 'Democratic, Republican Liberal-Progressive's Worst Nightmare'
  11. Fake Three (Or Seven) Headed Snake Image
  12. Misleading Health Advice Email - 'Mayo Clinic on Aspirin and Heart Attacks'
  13. Facebook Survey Scam - Free Argos Gift Card
  14. 'Email Deactivation Warning' Phishing Scam
  15. Anti-Obama Youtube Video Compiles Multiple Conspiracy Theories
  16. Fake AT&T Bill Emails Point To Malware
  17. Messages Claim Coca Cola to be Banned In Bolivia
  18. 'Free Apple Product' Text Message Survey Scam
  19. Circulating Warning - Facebook May Close Down Animal Rescue Account'
  20. 2012 FIFA World Cup Online Lottery Advance Fee Scam
  21. Email Claiming US Gold Medal Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas Faces Lifetime Ban Used to Spread Malware
  22. Bigpond Security Service Phishing Scam
  23. Wrestling Star John Cena is NOT Dead
  24. Hoax - NASA Predicts Total Blackout of Planet in Dec 2012
  25. Wrestling Star Undertaker is NOT Dead
  26. Colin And Chris Weir Donation Programme Advance Fee Scam
  27. US EPA Regulations Force Power Plant Closures
  28. 'View Facebook Followers' Scam Targets Twitter Users
  29. Lloyds TSB 'New Banking Authentication' Phishing Scam
  30. Faux Image - Pilots Protesting Chemtrails
  31. Telstra Bill Account Update Phishing Scam
  32. McDonald's Signboard Supporting Chick-Fil-A
  33. ABSA 'Authorized EFT Payment Received' Phishing Scam
  34. Hoax Picture - Obama Holding Phone Upside Down
  35. 'eBay Item Not Received' Phishing Scam Email
  36. Wells Fargo 'Security Check' Phishing Scam
  37. False Warnings - 'Cleaning out Friends List' Questions on Facebook Contain Viruses or are Posted by Hackers