McDonald's Survey Scam
A new online scam has popped up in recent weeks that involves the McDonald’s fast food chain and a bogus Customer Satisfaction Survey. The scam appears in the form of a spam email sent to you supposedly from the McDonald’s corporation, and it provides a link to a website that contains a brief survey. After completing the survey, it will then try to get your credit card information so that it can ‘credit’ you $80 just for taking the survey. Of course, it’s all just a scam to collect your credit card information.
Like so many online scams, there are many telltale factors that an educated user can pick out to determine that this one is clearly a scam. The initial email, as well as the survey, is plagued with misspelled words. Grammar and spelling errors are frequent in these type emails since they usually originate from foreign countries where English is not the first language. Although the occasional error is human, most people would expect a company as big as McDonald’s to hire people who could write well.
Another major red flag is when you get to the part where they want your credit card information and the page is not secured. Never, under any circumstances, provide your credit card numbers on any site that doesn’t have an https:// on the web address. If it is just a regular http://, you should stay far away. Https is a secured protocol that will help protect your data from being stolen. Anyone collecting credit card information on a regular http:// is either a crook or an idiot.
With scams like this, sometimes the best defense is common sense. First, you have to ask yourself just why would McDonald’s email you and how did they even get your address? Also, why would they pay $80 or more just for a brief survey? It makes no sense. Furthermore, why would they require your credit card information to pay you for the survey? Many of these type scams use the promise of free money to sweet talk people into providing valuable financial information. If you really won something, you shouldn’t have to give anyone the same information as you would somebody who is selling something.
Mississippi state Attorney General Jim Hood issued a warning to all citizens on February 16th, 2009, after consulting with the McDonald’s Corporation to verify that this is indeed a scam. Prior to that, warnings first began to emerge in early December 2008 when the survey was paying $75. Similar survey type scams have been pulled in the past using brand names such as Wal-Mart and Applebee’s.