Fake surveys harvest personal information

Gifts are often used as an incentive to make people share their personal information. Way back in the day, people could be convinced to share their password in return for a chocolate bar. Today, $200 gift certificates and expensive devices are offered.

Symantec warns about a spam run that seeks to lure the recipients into completing a bogus survey on features provided by their social networking site.

To make the survey seem legitimate and to assure themselves that the information they receive is not bogus, the people behind this scheme make it clear that only participants that are over 18 years of age and are U.S. residents are eligible to receive the gift, and that the provided information must be valid, or the gift will not be delivered to the survey-taker.

The survey taking process which ends – of course – with the person sharing personal information such as name, address, date of birth, home phone, gender, and more. It also tries to make the participant join an “online rewards club”.

It is good to remember that sharing any kind of personal or financial information after following a link contained in an unsolicited email message is a really bad idea. At best, your information is now in the hands of Internet marketers that will seek to use it or sell it to others who are interested in spamming you with offers you did not seek. At worst, your information will be used by various criminals to steal your identity, money or get you into debt.