Receive a FREE $100.00 Tim Hortons Voucher!
18 Jan 2012
Tim Hortons is currently giving away free vouchers to all facebook users!
Typical survey scam once again targetting Tim Hortons.
What are Survey Scams?
Survey scams are simply scams that trick users into completing surveys and parting with much of their personal information.
They are one of the most prolific scams that circulate sites like Facebook everyday, fooling thousands of users everyday into completing surveys or 'offers' on the assertion that once completed the Facebook user will get something in return.
Survey scams exist because the scammers get paid every time they trick someone into completing a survey by the companies who own the surveys, because obtaining and hording the personal information of the public can be very beneficial to such companies.
How do they work?
A survey scam (or a 'rewards program' scam) will typically involve two major steps –
1. Tricking or forcing a Facebook user into sharing a website or Facebook page thus 'inviting' their social contacts to the same scam.
2. Getting the user to actually complete the survey on the assertion they will receive something in return.
Step 1 is important because circulating the scam through a social media site like Facebook will dramatically increase the amount of people exposed to it. Scammers want to get Facebook users to circulate their scams for them, thus saving them time. It also allows the scammer to reach people they normally could not.
In the case of the 'Receive a FREE $100.00 Tim Hortons Voucher!' scam, a Share button (like the ones displayed in the image below) is shown on the site. Users are told that they must first Share (and often Like) the website to continue, thus causing the user to post a link to the website to all of their friends on Facebook. The link will bait the victims Facebook friends by offering them something when they click the link.
Step 2 simply forces the user to complete a survey before they can receive whatever the link in Step 1 purported to offer. Of course the Facebook user does not receive anything, but by the time this becomes clear, the user has completed the survey and it is too late. The scammer has made their money.
The request to complete the survey may look like one of the images below.
Or in the case of 'rewards program' scams -
How to Remove the Scam
If you have fallen victim to a survey scam, there are a few things you need to do to stop your friends falling for the same trap. Firstly you need to clean up your Facebook profile, because you have shared a survey scam website which is appearing in the newsfeed of your Facebook friends.
To delete it, go to your Facebook profile and locate the offending post. Hover over it with your mouse and an icon will appear at the top right of the post – click that icon and from the menu click 'Delete Post' (see image below).
This will stop the post being shared with your friends, though take note that some Facebook friends may have already seen it before you had a chance to delete it.
Most survey scams do not require you install anything onto your computer, but if you think you may have downloaded or installed something onto your computer during the course of the scam, then run up-to-date antivirus software immediately. Not sure you have up-to-date antivirus software? Check our recommendations for 2012 here.
Dispelling some Fallacies
Lots of misinformation circulates regarding these types of scams, including so called 'warnings' that ultimately contain more fiction than fact.
Additionally survey scams have nothing to do with hackers. No one has 'gained access' to your account and is posting links to survey scams. Various scams do exist which involves a users account becoming compromised by hackers, but not survey scams. This means warnings that claim you need to change your password are useless in these cases. Survey scammers do not have your password, and changing your password will not stop your account sharing spammy links.
Keep up-to-date on the most recent survey scams to hit Facebook by checking in with our page dedicated to listing the most recent survey scams.