I must preface this explanation of an online scam by saying this: I’ve been online since 1987, and until yesterday, I had never fallen for an online scam. I’m mentioning this because any of us can fall prey to the constantly evolving methods of online scamming that occur, even those of us with decades of Internet experience and those of us who are in the business of helping others avoid online scams.
Now on with the scam that snagged me this week.
I love Twitter. I trust Twitter. This is relevant because I was accessing Twitter via an iPod Touch and at the log-in screen, I was invited to take a quick survey for a prize. Wow. How cool!
So I responded to three quick, innocuous multiple choice questions.
Then I got to choose a prize. WOW. A MacBook Air? No way! OK, Twitter is awesome. Of course they would offer incredibly awesome gifts.
All I had to do was enter my email address and cell phone number. I didn’t even hesitate because they already had both so it made momentary sense that they’d be asking me for this to verify my identity. Great!
As soon as I hit send, I had a flash. What they heck did I just do? Did I really just enter two pieces of identifying information via my iPod Touch into a website? What was I thinking?
Well, it was Twitter, of course. So I went onto my computer to access Twitter and started doing some searches for “Twitter survey” and “Twitter prizes.” No mentions.
Then I put on my reading glasses. And saw that the URL I had initially put into Safari on my iPod Touch was:
But see above. To me, it resembled Twitter enough on the small iTouch screen that I didn’t even think twice.
And here is how they redirected me.
And here is how they are pulling the same scam via Facebook.
This made me ill. Mostly, I was angry at myself for being duped like this. I spoke with my telecom carrier, and they didn’t really have any advice for me but did help me realize that even though they have my email address, they would need my phone – not just my phone number – to reset my password.
But they could use either to perpetuate more scams.
And this is what I received within an hour of being duped.
I share this with you so that you think twice and even three times or more before giving anyone online – ANYONE – your private, identifying information. And to remind you that this can happen to ANYONE.
The company is Social Reward Central dot com. Their address is in Queensland, Australia. Their registrar is Power Brand Center dot com. Avoid them at all costs.
Have you been duped before by an online scam? What happened and what did you do?