20 June 2013

Survey spam targets financial or personal information

Subscribers are advised to be wary of spam emails that offer a prize in return for completing a survey. In many cases, these surveys are not legitimate and pose a threat to your computer or privacy. If you receive an unsolicited message asking you to complete a survey, you should simply delete it.

There is a current increase in the amount of spam asking recipients to complete a survey to receive a prize or present. The prize could be anything, but recent trends include offers of a credit card, electronic equipment or travel.

One example recently highlighted by security vendor SPAMfighter noted survey spam targeting users of Australian banks with customer satisfaction surveys. The spam included a link which appears to go to the legitimate bank website, however sent the user to a faked survey website.

Survey spam emails are often branded to appear to be from legitimate organisations. An example of a fake Burger King survey is given below.

Example of a fake Burger King survey including a button marked CLAIM YOUR GIFTCARD

Responding to these emails or completing the survey creates a risk of identity theft—especially if personally identifiable information such as a credit card number or licence number is requested.

In addition, clicking on links within the message to view the survey may pose a risk. In some cases, the survey webpage may attempt to install malware onto your computer.

Avoiding survey spam

Always be suspicious of any unsolicited messages, especially those asking for personal or financial information.

If you are unsure about the message, simply delete it.

Do not reply to the message and do not click any links in the email.

If you are still uncertain about a message you can always cross check its information by independently locating the company’s website or by calling them directly.

No reputable organisation will request personal or financial information by unsolicited email. Unsolicited promises of prizes should also be treated with suspicion; they could be a further ploy for your financial details.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) advises you to “ignore it, report it and delete it”.

You can report spam by forwarding the email to the Spam Intelligence Database at report [at] submit.spam.acma.gov.au, then delete the email.

About Stay Smart Online surveys

From time to time, Stay Smart Online does conduct surveys of our subscribers, which are distributed via email. Our surveys allow you to remain anonymous and do not ask for any personal or financial information whatsoever. In email communications about our surveys you will be advised of independent means of verifying the information (such as a link directly from our website).

You can expect to receive a survey from us in coming weeks.

More information

Stay Smart Online provides advice on avoiding scams and hoaxes.

Information provided by the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory, www.icsl.com.au.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone’s circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.


Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.


This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.


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