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Cybersecurity – SCAM of the Week – Survey Scams


This week’s reported “scam” is a phishing email that needs you to take a survey to help customer experiences for a business and offer you a wonderful prize for helping them out. Sounds too good to be true? It usually is.

It starts with an email asking for just a few minutes of your time to complete a survey. They seems like harmless questions such as “would you visit our shops in person if they were open later?”, or “how often do you browse our website for new products?”

Most reputable business that ask for your help in this way will offer a coupon or a discount on your next purchase. Scammers have been taking this to the next level by suggesting to people that they are one of the lucky few that are eligible for a way bigger prize, say an iPhone. Even during the “survey” there is a countdown to how many big prizes are left (creating a sense of urgency). 

What do you know!  You won! Congratulations!  The iPhone (11 Pro) is yours!  You only have to pay a $1 shipping fee and enter your personal information, including credit card number to get this wonderful prize. 

And they have you (or at least enough to start making purchases and build a fake identity).  

This report came from https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2020/06/22/anatomy-of-a-survey-scam-how-innocent-questions-can-rip-you-off/.  It even shows screen shots of that the survey looks like and what is real and fake in the whole scheme.  Definitely worth a read. 

 What else have we seen reported to abuse@uthsc.edu this week? Here are a few examples:

  • Like Dr. Schwab the week prior, there were a couple of deans that had their name (but not email address) spoofed in the ever popular gift-card scam. Subject line of these said either “Dean” or “Quick”, asking for a cell number to continue a conversation outside of the UTHSC email system. 
  • UTHSC Outstanding Invoice – wants a person to click on a “One Drive” link
  • Update on COVID-19 Outbreak – wants a person to click on a link to acknowledge receipt of the message
  • Updated FilesMessage From 08966 505055 – another click on a link to review messages
  • New vMsg for (NetID) – click on the link to listen to the voicemail that DIDN’T come through our UTHSC telecom system

Stay safe out there everyone.  Any suspicious email can be forwarded to abuse@uthsc.edu for examination.